This week, Facebook announced a new set of measures to better protect users of its apps who are under 18. In terms of ad targeting, the company will no longer allow advertisers to target underage users based on their interests.

Currently, when running an ad on Facebook, it is possible to target users based on demographics such as age, gender or location. But there is also an option to target interests. For example, if you’re selling basketball gear, you’re going to target people who are interested in that sport.

But from now on, this ad targeting will no longer be possible for users under the age of 18. As Facebook explains, these users will only be able to be targeted based on age, gender and location.

“We already give people ways to tell us they’d rather not see ads based on their interests or activities on other websites and apps,

for example via controls in our ad settings. But youth advocates have told us that young people may not be well equipped to make these decisions. We agree with them, which is why we’re taking a more cautious approach to how advertisers can reach young people with ads,” the company says.

When a user turns 18, Facebook will send a notification to inform them of the changes in ad targeting, as well as explain what controls are available to opt out of ad targeting. These changes apply on the Facebook app, but also on Instagram and Messenger

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Additional protections on Instagram

By the way, when it comes to Instagram, Facebook will also make accounts private by default for new users under the age of 16. “Private accounts allow users to control who sees or responds to their content. If you have a private account, people have to follow you to see your posts, stories and reels. People can’t comment on your content in those places either, and they won’t see your content at all in places like Explore or hashtags,”

Facebook says.

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And that’s not all. Instagram will also block users it deems suspicious from engaging with underage users. Facebook says it has developed technology to detect potentially suspicious accounts (adult accounts that have recently been blocked or previously reported).

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