Facebook’s new restrictions around targeting minors

Facebook’s new restrictions around targeting minors

29 July 2021 |

Social Media

What is happening?

Facebook has decided to set limitations on the types of targeting available to advertisers when reaching minors across their range of social platforms. The change was sparked by youth advocates, according to Instagram, who have expressed concerns that under 18s are vulnerable to the influence of ads. “Young people may not be well equipped to make these decisions. We agree, which is why we’re taking a more precautionary approach in how advertisers can reach young people with ads.” Instagram claimed in their latest announcement.


What does this mean?

Targeting options that were once available across Facebook’s business suite, will now be limited when targeting those under 18. Advertisers will now only be able to target these users based on demographic traits, including age, gender and location. These changes will roll out globally across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, and will now prohibit advertisers from targeting based on user interest, or activity across apps and websites.


What will this look like on platform?

Minors will automatically be removed from all targeting segments that identify them based on individualised (non-demo) traits. This may impact the user experience of minors who will now be served less relevant ads, though Facebook is more concerned with protecting the privacy and safety of minors online. Once users turn 18, they will be notified about targeting options and how advertisers are able to reach them online.


What about organic activity?

Instagram has also outlined a range of precautions in place for protecting young people across their platform. These include defaulting users under 16 to private accounts, restricting where their content is shown, and who can interact with their profile. Private accounts give users control over who can follow you, and access your content. According to Instagram, testing showed that eight out of ten young people opted for a private account during account set up.

Facebook has also recognised that users may not be transparent when setting up accounts, now incentivising young users to declare their real age. Facebook is developing experiences designed for their users under 13, such as their recently announced ‘Instagram for Tweens’.

“While most platforms have set their minimum age for participation at 13, there’s no on/off switch that makes someone ready to be a fully media-literate participant on that birthday. Defaulting accounts to private for under-16s encourages young people to develop comfort, confidence and capability as digital citizens during their younger years and help them develop habits to last a lifetime.” – David Kleeman, Senior Vice President, Global Trends, Dubit.


Although these new targeting restrictions may impact the way your brand currently reaches your target audience, it doesn’t make this audience completely unreachable. Your ADMATICian is happy to discuss solutions moving forward, just reach out!