New Facebook Targeting Rules

New Facebook Targeting Rules

New to Facebook target: firsthand
Michael CEO&Founder

Printed 2004-07-20

It took a decent amount of time, but finally Facebook announced that it will intensify its efforts to limit discrimination in targeting ads by removing a number of specific targeting options to ensure that they are not used to unfairly narrow the audience. 

The changes relate to housing, employment and loan advertising - this is what Facebook Chief Operating Officer Cheryl Sandberg says in detail:

  • “Anyone who wants to show ads for housing , work or loans, will no longer be eligible for targeting by age, gender or zip code. 
  • Advertisers offering housing, jobs and credit opportunities will have a much smaller set of targeting categories to use in their campaigns. Multicultural targeting will still not be available for these ads. In addition, any detailed targeting options that describe protected social groups or appear to be related to them will also be unavailable. 
  • We create a tool so that you can search and view all current US housing ads targeted to to different locations across the country, regardless of whether you're showing ads. ”

The changes came as a result of actions taken against Facebook by some social organizations in the USA. After various investigations revealed that Facebook's targeting options could be used in a discriminatory and illegal way, Facebook was essentially forced to implement these updates. 

This was first discovered by ProPublica in 2016, when it turned out that the Facebook system allows advertisers to exclude the display of blacks, Hispanics and other ethnic groups from advertising. 

Targeted advertising is becoming an increasingly important way.  SMM promotion on social networks is getting more expensive, and this is largely due to the fact that social networks are trying to leave the target as the only advertising channel on their site. 

Facebook and ethnic exclusions

Facebook updated its policy to prevent such use of the social network in early 2017, but advertisers could take full advantage of the customization trick through Facebook's targeted advertising system. After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook removed more than 5,000 ad targeting options for the same anti-discrimination principles, and introduced a new user agreement that gave it legal protection against claims on this topic. 

Facebook anti-discrimination

These measures still did not stop the business from selecting and / or excluding a specific audience, but the latest Facebook update takes another step in this direction. New measures should significantly limit discriminatory targeting. 

However, given the complexity of the algorithms, Facebook cannot completely exclude the possibility of using the system for such purposes. Pauline Kim, a professor of labor law at the University of Washington at St. Louis, notes that:

"Depending on how the algorithm works, you may inadvertently show advertising a biased audience.” < / p>

So far, Facebook has refused to provide a more detailed explanation of how its advertising targeting algorithms work. It is possible that, based on user behavior, the algorithm could be trained (based on user habits and behavior) so that discriminatory advertising targeting would essentially remain. 

This is a typical problem of systems working with complex algorithms - since they learn from the data obtained as a result of actual use, they also reflect the differences in the selected audience . This means that social discrimination still remains: if many users in any one social category show interest in a certain thing, they will “train” the algorithm, which will allow this attribute to be used for targeting. 

Avoiding this is still a hot topic among machine learning experts. Howeve r, everything Facebook is trying to do to limit active discriminatory targeting is a positive step. 

© Andrew Hutchinson