Facebook, Instagram Ad Targeting For Under-18 Users Becomes Tough; All Ads Based On Interests Banned
Amid increasing concerns over the social media giant, Facebook’s ‘leaked’ plans of launching a version of Instagram for users below the age of 13, several U.S. lawmakers and attorneys have slammed the giant’s idea, stating that it would put the children using a platform at risks of mental health and privacy.
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.
Instagram in a blog post 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) so that they can be barred from being contacted by adults.
The platform also added that these users will surely be given the option of switching their accounts to a public one.
Facebook to Launch Special Platform for Young Users
The heat of the whole ‘young users’ scene has gained more traction after Facebook’s plan to launch a version of Instagram for children under 13, was leaked by U.S. lawmakers and attorneys general.
Reuters adds that a group of over 40 state attorneys general wrote to CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking him to ditch the idea.
To this, Facebook has informed yesterday (July 27) that it was working towards developing an ‘Instagram experience for tweens’.
Explaining the purpose of a separate platform for young users, the company said that it would provide an increased transparency and controls by the parent, over what the younger children do on Instagram.
Additionally, Facebook’s idea of ‘Instagram for tweens’ is not the first version of apps created for younger audiences. Facebook’s Messenger Kids and Alphabet Inc-owned YouTube Kids are some known and widely-accepted examples of the same.
While many social media platforms do prohibit users under the age of 13 from accessing the platform, they often fail to identify and remove underage users.
Speaking on this matter, Facebook’s head of youth products, Pavni Diwanji informed that Facebook has been using artificial intelligence to tackle this issue and bar underage accounts.
Instagram, too, is working towards making it difficult for adults in several countries who have shown potentially suspicious behavior, like recently being reported by a young user – to find young people’s accounts, either through searching usernames or having the accounts suggested to them.