Facebook and Instagram restrict advertisers’ access to teenagers’ data

Companies will no longer be able to target youngsters based on gender and user activity

Advertisers on Facebook and Instagram face tighter restrictions when advertising to teenagers, the platforms’ parent company, Meta, has announced.

Firms will no longer be able to target youngsters based on gender and their user activity on the sites.

The changes will take effect in February, Meta said in a blog post.

Under the new rules, only a teen’s age and location will be used to show them advertising. The company already allows this age group to see fewer ads about specific topics and plans to expand the ban to a wider number of topics,a starting in March.

Meta previously stopped advertisers from targeting teens based on their interest and activities on other apps and websites. It also forbids ads on certain topics for teens like weight loss, alcohol and financial products.

Many online safety campaigners argue for a clamp down on how advertisers can target teens, claiming that inappropriate ads can be as harmful as offensive or abusive content posted by others online.

“As part of our continued work to keep our apps age-appropriate for teens, we’re making further changes to their ad experiences,” Meta said in a blogpost.

“We recognise 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.

“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.”

News from elsewhere this week:

More TikTokers are taking the stand on children they should’ve taken in the first place – Indy100

Is a self-harm game really being shown to kids on Roblox? – Snopes

Teaching online safety in schools – GOV.UK

Safe Gaming: What parents need to know – Psychology Today

What is YouTube Kids? Everything you need to know about the video platform for kids – Make Use Of

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