Facebook will restrict advertising directed at people under 18 years of age

Por Elizabeth Culliford

Jul 27 (Reuters) – Facebook Inc will stop allowing advertisers to target those under 18 on its platforms based on their interests or activity on other sites, the company said in a series of user announcements on Tuesday. youths.

The change means that advertisers will soon be able to target those under 18 only by age, gender or location on Facebook, its Messenger service and its Instagram photo-sharing platform. In a blog post, Instagram said it was making the change because it agreed with youth advocates that minors might not be equipped to make targeting decisions.

Instagram users under the age of 16 will also default to a private account when they join the platform, the company said, in an effort to stop unwanted contact from adults. However, they will still have the option to switch to a public account and current users will be able to keep their account public.

Facebook’s focus on younger users has been in the spotlight after US lawmakers and attorneys general criticized its leaked plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under 13. Earlier this year, a group of more than 40 state attorneys general wrote to Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, asking him to drop the idea.

The company said Tuesday it was working on an “Instagram experience for tweens.” He has said that the idea of ​​a youth-focused app is to provide parents with greater transparency and control over what younger children who want to access Instagram do.

Several of the major social media companies have also released versions of their apps for younger audiences, from Facebook’s Messenger Kids to Alphabet Inc.-owned YouTube Kids.

Proponents argue that children are already on a platform and therefore a familiar version provides a safer environment, but critics say that Facebook should not try to hook young children into its services because of the risks to their development. mental health and privacy.

Verifying the age of children is a problem on many social networks, which prohibit access to those under the age of 13, but often do not identify or remove underage users. In another blog post on Tuesday, Facebook’s head of youth products Pavni Diwanji said he was using artificial intelligence to improve this verification and delete underage accounts.

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