Metro Weekly

Facebook removes ability to target ads by sexual orientation

LGBTQ organizations have complained that it removes their ability to target their community

Photo: Facebook Newsroom

Facebook has quietly removed the option for advertising to be target towards users of a specific sexual orientation.

The social media giant removed the feature last month without an announcement, leaving organizations that provide services for the LGBTQ community with less of a chance to reach their base.

According to Buzzfeed, a temporary exception has been made for dating apps, but they will also lose the ability to target sexuality in April.

The move comes as part of Facebook’s overhaul of “interested in” targeting that garnered criticism last year from both users and the U.S. government.

Calvin Stowell, chief growth officer of the Trevor Project, told Buzzfeed News that it’s in talks with Facebook about reinstating the option, as its removal has disrupted the suicide hotline’s services.

“It’s really important to have that targeting be available,” Stowell said, adding, “We have a very limited budget, and so now I have to throw money at the wind, hoping it’s going to reach the group I want to reach.”

However, some are not opposed to the change. A spokesperson for GLAAD told Buzzfeed that it was “a fair compromise” that could prevent malicious use of targeted ads toward the LGBTQ community.

Facebook is currently embroiled in controversy for letting Cambridge Analytica gather information for the 2016 Trump campaign on over 50 million users of the social media site. That information was then used to identify the personalities and influence the behavior of voters.

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!