The Guardian, 27 Jul 2021

Josh Taylor and Christopher Knaus

Advertisers on Instagram, Facebook and Messenger will no longer be able to market to under 18s based on their interests

Facebook will impose more control on the types of ads that children as young as 13 are exposed to on Instagram and other platforms, as new research finds Australian alcohol companies are not restricting their social media content from reaching younger users.

Social media giant Facebook will impose more control on the types of advertisements young people see on its platforms. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Facebook announced on Wednesday that, starting in a few weeks, Instagram will stop advertisers marketing to teens under 18 based on their interests. Only their age, gender and location will be able to be used to target ads to them.

Lobby group Reset Australia recently reported being able to set up ads targeted at teens between 13 and 17 based on interests they had expressed including smoking, extreme weight loss and gambling.

The changes will apply across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. In a blog post, Facebook said although everyone could opt out of targeted ads manually, the company had decided to do it automatically for children.

“We’ve heard from youth advocates that young people may not be well equipped to make these decisions. We agree with them, which is why we’re taking a more precautionary approach in how advertisers can reach young people with ads.”

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