Teens Receive Greater Protection from Targeted Ads on Instagram and Facebook

Meta is updating its apps to give teens more control over the ads they see. Advertisers on Instagram and Facebook will no longer be able to use personal data to target these users, while young people under 18 will have more options related to what ads they view and why.

Beginning in October, Meta will no longer allow advertisers to target ads based on gender or user activity such as following accounts and liking Facebook pages to those under 18.

Personalized ads on apps will now use age and location to determine relevance. Meta notes that location is necessary for users to access relevant products and services in their area.

This year, Instagram has taken steps to bolster privacy for its youngest users by blocking advertisers from targeting teens based on their interests or online behavior outside of the app.

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission investigated Instagram’s practices for user accounts of 13-17 year olds over two years, including their default setting of public profiles and allowing minors with business accounts to share personal contact info.

Meta’s incremental changes indicate that its youngest users are valuable from an advertising perspective, despite the risks involved. This decision to remain on the same course rather than going ‘cold turkey’ suggests Meta is willing to risk potential future regulatory issues.

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Kira Kim

Kira Kim is a science journalist with a background in biology and a passion for environmental issues. She is known for her clear and concise writing, as well as her ability to bring complex scientific concepts to life for a general audience.

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