Meta increases restrictions on availability of teenage user data

By our News Team | 2023

Company says it recognises that teens aren’t as equipped as adults to make decisions about how their online data is used for advertising,

From next month, Facebook and Instagram will be tightening up on the data that the platforms make available to advertisers about teenage users.

The announcement was made by parent company Meta this week and comes in the wake of concerns – and legal action – in various countries over the impact that social media may have on young people.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

From February, Facebook and Instagram advertisers will not have access to teen users’ gender of the type of posts they have engaged with. However, their age and location will still be available to advertisers.

Meta also confirmed that, as of March, teenagers using both platforms will be able to go into their settings and choose to ‘see less’ of certain types of ads.

In a blog post published on Tuesday, Meta said: “We recognise that teens aren’t necessarily as equipped as adults to make decisions about how their online data is used for advertising, particularly when it comes to showing them products available to purchase. For that reason, we’re further restricting the options advertisers have to reach teens, as well as the information we use to show ads to teens.   

Restrictions based on feedback from parents and experts

“We’re also introducing more teen-specific controls and resources to help them understand how ads work and the reasons why they see certain ads on our apps. These changes reflect research, direct feedback from parents and child developmental experts, UN children’s rights principles and global regulation.”

According to Meta, its Advertising Standards already prohibit ads about restricted topics — like alcohol, financial products and weight-loss products and services — to be shown to people under 18 (and older in certain countries).

Recently Meta was fined US$400-million by the Data Protection Commission, the Irish entity that protects privacy rights under European Union law, over its failure to acquire sufficient legal permission from users to track their data.

Meanwhile, in the US the Washington Examiner newspaper reported this week that the Seattle school district has filed a lawsuit against some of the biggest social media platforms, accusing them of playing a role in damaging the mental health of teenagers across the United States.

Seattle’s School District No. 1 filed the suit last Friday (6 January 2023) against several tech companies in the Western District of Washington [State]. The lawsuit names Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Google and YouTube as defendants and accuses them of designing their apps to promote addictive conduct.

The social media platforms “have intentionally cultivated, creating a mental health crisis among America’s youth”, the complaint says.

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.