Facebook has announced the removal of two major ad targeting options on its advertising platform. Specifically, the ability to target ads based on a users employer and education. Businesses who use those targeting features will definitely take a hit on their campaigns and will need to come up with a backup plan going forward.
Facebook’s decision to remove these targeting options came in response to a report by ProPublica that showed some advertisers were targeting discriminatory groups in their ad campaigns such as “Jew Haters” and “Nazis.” This was possible because several thousand users had input offensive names and titles in the employer and education sections of their profiles making them targetable for ads.
“There are times where content is surfaced on our platform that violates our standards,” said Rob Leathern, product management director at Facebook. “In this case, we’ve removed the associated targeting fields in question. We know we have more work to do, so we’re also building new guardrails in our product and review processes to prevent other issues like this from happening in the future.”
Businesses that have existing campaigns running that use the now restricted targeting options can continue them, but no changes can be made to those sections. Facebook says these restrictions are only temporary until they can come up with a permanent solution, but offered no timeline for that.