Meta is making new rules and policies regarding ads targeting teens. It restricts advertisers from utilizing teenagers’ personal data to target ads to them. Now, Instagram and Facebook won’t be able to target kids through personalized ads. This way, it empowers teenagers to make informed choices about the ads they would like to see and why.
The following month, Meta’s first move will be to restrict platforms to target ads to teenagers by using information about their gender. So, there won’t be gender-specific ads for teenagers. Moreover, Meta won’t allow advertisers to make personalized ads and put them in front of teenagers based on their activities on the apps, like who they follow or what posts or pages they like on Facebook and Instagram.
After these changes, ads will only be based on the users’ age and location to make them relevant and valuable for the audience. According to Meta, location plays a crucial role in determining which products or services are available in the locality of the target audience. In the next 2 months, Meta will implement another change to give teens more control over what they want to see. It will allow them to “see less” of a specific topic they weren’t allowed to see before on the apps because of being under 13. It will help advertisers know about the ads they can put on the platform to cater to kids’ needs. Moreover, the kids will have access to “ad preference” settings which they can use to select topics they are more or less interested in to see the relevant ads.
Meta aims to protect teenagers’ privacy through these new changes and controls. In 2021, Instagram blocked those advertisers targeting teens based on their activity or interests outside the app. It also introduced various measures to control the activity of teens on the platform. Last year, it introduced another feature to push teens away from potentially harmful content if they spend more time browsing it.
Meta has faced significant losses because of the infrastructure it had in the past. Ireland’s Data Protection Commission investigated for 2 years to see what Instagram is doing with the accounts of teenagers on its platform. The company’s practice of allowing minors to share their phone numbers on the business accounts or making them public by default came to notice. After being fined around $400 million, Meta criticized the commission’s decision to punish it for its outdated policies. According to it, the Irish regulator must have noticed that the Meta was likely to change its policies.
Meta can’t go to the extreme of turning ads off for teenagers. It is not a practical solution to the problem as it involves a lot of risk factors. Instead, it decided to stay strong and do its best as teenagers, and young adults are a valuable asset of Meta for advertising. It can’t lose them altogether; however, it is willing to take a risk by making necessary changes instead of taking any wrong abrupt action. Meta is planning to provide teenagers with all the essential tools and features they can use to make decisions about how advertisers can use their data. Once they are adequately equipped like young adults, the situation will likely improve.
Meta has introduced new limits for teens to protect them from harmful content. This way, they will have control over what they get to see and why. They will make informed choices by setting their ad preferences. Meta has taken this middle way to avoid the chaos that has been there in the past because of the ad targeting teens without any limitations.