Meta Institutes New Curbs On Targeted Ads To Teens

Starting next month, Meta Platforms will no longer allow companies to send targeted ads to teens based on their gender, the company said Tuesday.

Meta also said Tuesday that data about teens' engagement on Meta's own apps -- including whether teens followed Instagram or Facebook pages -- won't be used for ad targeting. 

The company will continue to allow marketers to send targeted ads to teens based on their age and location. 

"We recognize that teens aren’t necessarily as equipped as adults to make decisions about how their online data is used for advertising, particularly when it comes to showing them products available to purchase," the company said in a blog post. "For that reason, we’re further restricting the options advertisers have to reach teens, as well as the information we use to show ads to teens."   

Meta also says that it will offer teens a new setting to control the types of ads they are shown.

“For example,” the company writes, “if a teen wants to see fewer ads about a genre of TV show or an upcoming sports season, they should be able to tell us that.”

The company currently prohibits marketers from advertising alcohol, weight loss products and some other restricted categories to minors. 

Meta's new restrictions extend curbs announced around 18 months ago, when the company said it would limit demographic targeting categories for teens to gender, age, location. Meta also said at the time that it would prohibit marketers from targeting ads to minors based on their web and app activity, as well as their expressed interests. 

The new restrictions announced Tuesday come as public officials are increasingly calling on web platforms to curb the collection and processing of minors' data.

Last year, the bipartisan proposed American Data Privacy Protection Act would have banned ad targeting to users 17 and younger. Other proposed bills, including the Children's and Teens’ Online Privacy Protection Act, introduced by Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) would have required websites and apps to obtain the consent of teens ages 13-15 before collecting data that can be linked to them or their devices -- such as IP addresses and pseudonymous identifiers.


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