Ad targeting for under-18 users becomes difficult on Facebook and Instagram

Advertising based on interests has been banned

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Several U.S. lawmakers and attorneys have slammed Facebook’s plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under 13 years of age amid concerns over child safety and mental health.

Furthermore, a Facebook spokesperson, while addressing young users on its various platforms, on Tuesday announced that it will prohibit advertisers from reaching users under the age of 18 years via their interests and activities on other sites.

Facebook to Introduce Some Safety Features for Young Users

While speaking about young users on different platforms of Facebook, a company spokesperson announced that Facebook Inc will stop advertisers from targeting users under 18 years of age, depending upon their preference patterns.

This being said, there would be no changes to the user data the company collects.

By introducing such target-oriented changes for Facebook’s young users, advertisers will soon be able to view such users only through parameters like their age, gender, Instagram account, Messenger, or location on Facebook.

This means advertisers will no longer be able to see these users’ preferences on the internet and, in turn, sell to them on that basis.

In a blog post, Instagram stated that it was going ahead with such a change after agreeing with youth advocates on the issue of young users not being able to make the best decisions on targeted marketing.

Additionally, Instagram has also stated that it would start defaulting the accounts of newly registered users under the age of 16 as private accounts (by default) to be barred from being contacted by adults.

Also, the platform added that users will indeed be able to switch their accounts to a public one.

Facebook will launch a special platform for young users

Several U.S. lawmakers and attorneys general have leaked Facebook’s plan to launch a version of Instagram for children under 13 in the wake of the whole ‘young users’ controversy.

Reuters reports that over 40 state attorneys general wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking him to drop the plan.

Yesterday (July 27), Facebook announced it is developing an Instagram experience for tweens.

Company representatives said the purpose of a separate platform for young users is to provide parents with greater transparency and control over their children’s Instagram activities.

Furthermore, Facebook’s idea of ‘Instagram for tweens’ is not the first version of apps designed for younger consumers. Facebook’s Messenger Kids and Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube Kids are some popular and widely accepted examples of the same.

While many social media platforms prohibit individuals under the age of 13 from using the platform, they often fail to identify and remove such users.

Speaking on this issue, Pavni Diwanji, Facebook’s head of youth products, informed that Facebook has been implementing artificial intelligence to tackle this issue and bar underage accounts.

Instagram, also working towards making it difficult for adults in several countries who have shown potentially suspicious behaviour, like getting reported by a young user – to find young people’s accounts, either by searching usernames or having the accounts suggested them. 

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