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Meta’s Removing Religious, Political and Sexual Preference Fields from Facebook Profiles

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Meta Adds Updated Congressional District Data to Location Targeting Options for Ads

Meta has begun informing Facebook users that it’s removing several profile info fields, in order to streamline the platform and make it ‘easier to navigate’.

Though not sure that it’ll have a huge impact.

As you can see in this notification, which was shared by social media expert Matt Navarra, Meta is sending out notifications to users who’ve filled in the following fields to let them know that they’ll soon be removed:

  • Interested in (which related to dating preferences)
  • Religion
  • Political Views
  • Address

Meta has confirmed the removal of these profile elements, explaining that:

“As part of our efforts to make Facebook easier to navigate and use, we’re removing a handful of profile fields: Interested In, Religious Views, Political Views, and Address. We’re sending notifications to people who have these fields filled out, letting them know these fields will be removed. This change doesn’t affect anyone’s ability to share this information about themselves elsewhere on Facebook.”

So if you’ve entered this info in, it’ll soon be erased, and no longer displayed to visitors to your Facebook presence.

But that’ll impact ad targeting, right? If people can’t list their religious affiliation, then you won’t be able to use that as an ad element.

Well actually, Meta removed all of these aspects as ad targeting options already, as part of a revision of its data options earlier this year.

As Meta explained at the time:

Starting January 19, 2022 we will remove Detailed Targeting options that relate to topics people may perceive as sensitive, such as options referencing causes, organizations, or public figures that relate to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation.”

Meta implemented that change in order to better align with Europe’s GDPR, which prohibits the targeting of users based on such, unless they’ve each individually provided explicit consent. That law came into effect in 2018, and Meta had been railing against it, but with the broader, global shift towards more privacy, and more data control for users, Meta eventually conceded the point, and moved in alignment with the more stringent privacy regulations.

So if Meta can’t use these as ad targeting options anyway, I guess there’s not much point having them at all, while it already knows where you are based on the data you share from your device.   

In essence, Meta no longer has any need for you to share this info on your profile, and each of these elements could also lead to discrimination and harm simply by being present. So it’s probably better to remove them – but the overall impact on how the platform operates will be largely unchanged.

‘But hang on,’ I hear you say, ‘with Apple’s iOS privacy update, Meta can’t track my location anymore, right? So it does need my address.’

Nah. Apple’s ATT update enables users to stop apps, like Facebook, from tracking their activity across other apps and websites – so if you switch it off, Facebook’s can’t, for example, track what you do in other apps, or your web browsing behavior, in order to complement what it already knows about you from its own apps. But it can track your activity within its platforms, which, unless you’ve switched it off, includes your location.

Again, the impact is pretty much null, while the potential negatives of having this info listed on your page could cause unnecessary harm. So best just to remove it.

Now you know why you’re getting this notification in the app.

Meta says that all of these fields will be deactivated by December 1st.



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‘Stop the hate’ online, UN chief pleads on Holocaust Day

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A person visits the Holocaust Memorial, in Berlin, Germany on January 27, 2023, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day

A person visits the Holocaust Memorial, in Berlin, Germany on January 27, 2023, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day – Copyright AFP Michal Cizek

The UN secretary-general warned of social media’s role in spreading violent extremism around the globe as he marked Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday, urging policy makers to help stop online hate.

Antonio Guterres said parts of the internet were turning into “toxic waste dumps for hate and vicious lies” that were driving “extremism from the margins to the mainstream.”

“Today, I am issuing an urgent appeal to everyone with influence across the information ecosystem,” Guterres said at a commemoration ceremony at the United Nations. “Stop the hate. Set up guardrails. And enforce them.”

He accused social media platforms and advertisers of profiting off the spread of hateful content.

“By using algorithms that amplify hate to keep users glued to their screens, social media platforms are complicit,” added Guterres. “And so are the advertisers subsidizing this business model.”

Guterres drew parallels with the rise of Nazism in 1930s Germany, when people didn’t pay attention or protest.

“Today, we can hear echoes of those same siren songs to hate. From an economic crisis that is breeding discontent to populist demagogues using the crisis to seduce voters to runaway misinformation, paranoid conspiracy theories and unchecked hate speech.”

He lamented the rise of anti-Semitism, which he said also reflects a rise of all kinds of hate.

“And what is true for anti-Semitism is true for other forms of hate. Racism. Anti-Muslim bigotry. Xenophobia. Homophobia. Misogyny”

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Weird of the Week

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Weird of the Week

What happened when six doctors swallowed Lego heads for science, and the results of Santa’s DNA test. Plus, is Dolly Parton really recording an album with Slipknot?

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De mest besökta webbplatserna i världen – 2023 års upplaga [Infographic]

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The Most Visited Websites in the World - 2023 Edition [Infographic]

Google remains the most-visited website in the world, while Facebook is still the most frequented social platform, based on web traffic. Well, actually, YouTube is, but YouTube’s only a partial social app, right?

The findings are displayed in this new visualization from Visual Capitalist, which uses SimilarWeb data to show the most visited websites in bubble chart format, highlighting the variance in traffic.

As you can see, following Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the next most visited social platforms, which is likely in line with what most would expect – though the low numbers for TikTok probably stand out, given its dominance of modern media zeitgeist.

But there is a reason for that – this data is based on website visits, not app usage, so platforms like TikTok and Snapchat, which are primarily focused on the in-app experience, won’t fare as well in this particular overview.

In that sense, it’s interesting to see which social platforms are engaging audiences via their desktop offerings.

You can check out the full overview below, and you can read Visual Capitalist’s full explainer here.

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