The company, which owns the Facebook and Instagram platforms, announced that it will work to restrict the ways advertisers target teenagers through its platforms, after many criticisms of the company in this regard.
Meta said in a statement on its official website that it will impose more measures to protect adolescents across its platforms, and will limit the options available to advertisers to target them.
“As part of our ongoing work to make our apps teen-friendly, we’re making more changes to their advertising experiences because we understand that teens are not necessarily as equipped as adults to make decisions about how their online data is used for ads,” the statement read.
The statement stressed that these amendments were based on scientific research, direct comments from parents and child development experts, the United Nations principles of child rights, and international regulations.
The changes include canceling the ability of advertisers on Facebook and Instagram to target teenagers based on their gender, and only targeting based on age and location only, after canceling targeting according to interests and activities at an earlier time, and this will ensure that teenagers see ads that are appropriate to their age and are located in their geographical vicinity.
According to the statement, starting next March, teenagers will have more tools to control the type of ads they see, so that they can select topics that they do not want to see ads about while preventing teenagers from choosing any topics that are not appropriate for their age.
The company will add a new Privacy page with more information for teens about the tools and privacy settings they can use, while also providing reasons why teens see certain ads.
Meta in 2021 has shared some measures to protect teens from interacting with potentially “suspicious” adults, banning adults from messaging teens they’re not related to, and showing teens a list of recommendations from People You May Know.
Meta has also started labeling any adult account that has been recently blocked or reported by a teen as a “suspect account”. As an added safeguard, the social network is also testing removing the message button entirely from teens’ Instagram accounts when viewed by suspicious adults.
Meta has also developed a number of tools so that teenagers can report what makes them feel uncomfortable while using its applications, and provides new notifications that encourage them to use these tools.
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