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Facebook to Restrict Ads Targeting Teens

FILE - A smartphone displays a Facebook page in an illustration photo taken Aug. 11, 2019.
FILE - A smartphone displays a Facebook page in an illustration photo taken Aug. 11, 2019.

Facebook says it will no longer allow advertisers to target those 18 and under based on their interests and activity on other sites.

The new policy, which also applies to Instagram and Facebook Messenger, still allows targeting of teens, but only based on age, gender and location.

Cutoff ages may vary by country as Facebook says the new policy will begin in a few weeks.

"We already give people ways to tell us that they would rather not see ads based on their interests or on their activities on other websites and apps, such as through controls within our ad settings,” Facebook said in a statement announcing the new policy. “But we've heard from youth advocates that young people may not be well equipped to make these decisions. We agree with them, which is why we're taking a more precautionary approach in how advertisers can reach young people with ads."

While the new policy might be a win for advocacy groups who said targeting teens posed potential dangers, Facebook said it was going ahead with a plan to create an Instagram for kids.

Attorneys general from 40 states have asked Facebook to scrap the idea.

Facebook says the idea would offer parents more control over their kids’ activity.

Some information in this report comes from Reuters.

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