Facebook is the largest, worldwide social network for users and advertisers. With 2.7 billion monthly active users, advertising on Facebook is critical to every brand’s digital marketing strategy, however, there are complexities and certain restrictions for companies that fall in the Special Ad Category.
As of 2020, advertisements concerning social issues, elections and politics, employment opportunities, credit, and housing opportunities are deemed “Special Ad Categories,” under Facebook’s targeting policies – but what does that mean?
Since Facebook integrated paid advertising options, the media giant has been under the microscope for the astounding amount of data the channel gathers on users. The unintended consequences of leveraging unlimited, highly specific data on Facebook users can be discrimination masked as audience targeting.
Beyond discriminatory outcomes, targeting feeds the algorithmic cycle which directs more and more similar information to users. As this occurs the field of information and commercial offerings narrow drastically and constrict the user’s field of options and content. Special Ad Categories limit audience selection to protect users from unlawful discrimination. Restrictions for businesses in this category includes targeting based on income, age, gender, zip code, lookalike audiences, and more depending on the advertisement.