Contrary to Reports: What Facebook REALLY Did About ‘Jew Hater’ Targeting

Posted in Psychographic Targeting, Social Media

Facebook removed important B2B psychographic targeting following ProPublica’s bombshell assertion that they were able to target self-proclaimed “Jew Haters” (and more), but here’s why Facebook advertisers keen on psychographic targeting like job titles, employers, and education should rest easy. Read on.

Bloomberg and many other outlets have reported Facebook’s corrective measure was to remove education and employer targeting — fields that are open-ended for a user to enter whatever their heart’s desire (albeit disgusting in this case), opposed to pre-set categories. Note: this also affects Job Title targeting, another open-ended field.

“We are removing these self-reported targeting fields until we have the right processes in place to help prevent this issue,” the company (Facebook) said.

What?

At first, I assumed this was a misstatement.

Stage of Grief: 1 – Denial.

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Removing the targeting field? That would mean no longer being able to target by employer or job title or education — at all. Surely they wouldn’t pull the plug on such cherry B2B targeting. Right?

Skip to Stage 3 of Grief: Bargaining

(What can I say? I’m an optimist…)

Seems a Ctrl+F, <insert protected class keywords/slang>, remove targeting variables would do the trick. Poof. Done. Easy peasy.

This would keep the searchable targeting fields intact for Facebook advertisers who rely on this powerful B2B psychographic targeting, while also removing the offensive targeting variables.

But no.

Much to a marketer’s chagrin, Facebook did remove these fields from the targeting interface.

Nope. Revert to Stage 2 of Grief, full into 4 – Anger and Depression

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HOWEVER, dear marketers, all is not lost.

It’s annoying, if not a bit amusing, when “the (mainstream) media” gets news about the digital marketing industry wrong. And it seems no publication thought to ask their in-house digital ads team or digital marketing agency to double check this? They just took Facebook’s word for it?

While Facebook did remove the fields for advertisers to search within the employers, education, and job title fields, targeting by employers or job titles IS STILL POSSIBLE. Both are still found via keyword searching.

BTW, advertisers are still able to target by degree as well — they just got lumped under “interests.” (We’ve seen before. In the early days of Facebook ads and psychographic targeting, job titles were lumped under “precise interests”.)

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Stage of Grief 5: Acceptance. (For Now.)

While this sure as heck seemed like a drastic, perhaps kneejerk, overcorrection by Facebook (honestly, can’t really blame ’em in light of all that’s going on — total purity with an organic community of over 2 billion humans and an ever-evolving lexicon is nearly impossible), rest assured Facebook advertisers. Most of your precious B2B targeting is still there. Hopefully these searchable targeting fields will come back (soon!) once the team at Facebook cleans up the targeting variables. (They really were essential.)

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Happy targeting! ^@MerryMorud

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