Facebook to remove sensitive ad targeting options

Facebook ad targeting

Considering the growing concerns over users’ privacy and expectations around how advertisers can reach them on Facebook, the platform will be discarding ad targeting options perceived as sensitive.

Detailed ad targeting options such as references to causes organizations, health, race, ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, sexual orientation, and more will be removed by January 19, 2022.

For instance, Health causes such as ‘cancer awareness’, sexual orientation such as ‘same-sex marriage’, religious practices, and groups ‘Catholic Church’, political beliefs, social issues, causes, organizations, and figures, are the topics that would be unavailable for ad targeting.

After these targeting options are removed, users may see ads that are irrelevant to them, to tackle this issue Facebook is working on ad controls that allow people to choose to see fewer ads about certain types of content.

Users already have the option to opt-out of seeing ads related to politics, parenting, alcohol, and pets, and by next year Facebook would be providing more controls for ads related to gambling and weight loss, among others.

Also Read: Facebook rolls out new features for Groups & Admins

Below are a few ways highlighted by Facebook to address the negative impact of these changes on advertisers and aid them to continue to reach their audiences:

  • An advocacy group looking to drive donations or a small business trying to connect with its customers can use Engagement Custom Audiences to reach people who have liked their Page or people who have watched their videos that may have appeared in News Feed (Video View Engagement Custom Audiences)
  • Businesses and groups can also use these Engagement Custom Audiences as a seed audience to build Lookalike Audiences to help them further widen the users they can reach
  • Website Custom Audiences and lookalikes based on these audiences can help reach users who have already engaged with a business or group’s website or products
  • Location Targeting can be used to reach people in the vicinity of a business’s brick and mortar store or within the radius of their shipping capabilities if they are online based
  • Additionally, businesses and groups who have permission from their customers are able to use their customer data for targeting via customer lists from a custom audience


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