Meta will remove targeting options for sensitive topics on January 19

Meta will remove certain targeting options relating to sensitive topics on January 19, 2022. “Health causes,” “sexual orientation,” “religious practices and groups,” and “political beliefs, social issues, causes, organizations and figures,” were among the examples of targeting options slated for deprecation.

Why we care. Facebook advertisers should ensure that they are not relying on the targeting options mentioned below or any other targeting options that may relate to sensitive topics, as those will likely be deprecated at some point as well.

Although the options mentioned below are going away on January 19, 2022, campaigns will continue to deliver for about eight weeks after that, until March 17, 2022, which should give advertisers some time to test out alternatives.

Sensitive targeting options. “We will be removing some Detailed Targeting options because they relate to topics people may perceive as sensitive, such as targeting options relating to causes, organizations, or public figures that relate to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation,” Meta said in the announcement. The company provided the following examples of targeting options that will be removed:

  • Health causes (e.g., “Lung cancer awareness”, “World Diabetes Day”, “Chemotherapy”).
  • Sexual orientation (e.g., “same-sex marriage” and “LGBT culture”).
  • Religious practices and groups (e.g., “Catholic Church” and “Jewish holidays”).
  • Political beliefs, social issues, causes, organizations and figures.

Campaigns can continue to deliver to impacted targeting options until March 17, 2022, “in the vast majority of cases,” Meta said. Until March 17, advertisers will be able to make most edits at the campaign level without affecting targeting. However, some changes at the ad set level may update your target audience (for example, changes to placements, targeting options, etc).

After March 17, edits for impacted campaigns will not be possible at the campaign, ad set or ad level.

Meta will also remove redundant targeting options. The company will also remove targeting options that haven’t been widely adopted, citing that they may be redundant with other options or be too granular, although it did not specify which options. Meta has done this before in previous updates as well.


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George Nguyen is an editor for Search Engine Land, covering organic search, podcasting and e-commerce. His background is in journalism and content marketing. Prior to entering the industry, he worked as a radio personality, writer, podcast host and public school teacher.

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