On November 9, Facebook (“Meta”) announced its decision to remove detailed targeting options that relate to “sensitive” topics such health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation. Beginning January 19, 2022, advertisers will no longer be able to target users based on their interactions with content related to these sensitive topics.   

Facebook’s ad targeting has historically allowed its partners to closely personalize promotions, increasing the likelihood their ads would reach interested users. However, Facebook has also received complaints regarding abuses of its advertising technology and has previously shifted its ad targeting practices as a result. 

Despite the change, Facebook does not appear to be reducing its participation in ad targeting. In fact, Facebook reiterated its commitment “to helping small businesses, non-profits, and advocacy groups reach their audiences” and offered suggestions for partners on how to reach specific groups of people without the use of these sensitive targeting options.  These suggestions include the use of broad targeting such as by gender and age, engagement custom audiences, lookalike audiences, website custom audiences, location targeting, and customer lists.