Facebook will soon expand its test of subject exclusion controls for ads in the news feed to a limited number of advertisers who run ads in English, the company said on Thursday. First announced as a trial in January 2021, Topic Exclusion Controls allow advertisers to block ads from viewing any of the following topics: News and Politics, Social Issues, and Crime and Tragedy.
Why we care. If these controls were rolled out more widely, advertisers could have more confidence in brand safety on Facebook. The platform has been at the center of numerous controversies over how to deal with misinformation and hate speech and it could fall out of favor, especially with teenage users, which is projected to decline 45% over the next two years.
Creating a more brand-safe environment can help Facebook maintain its ad revenue. However, if it is unable to modernize itself and compete with newer platforms like TikTok, at some point advertisers may switch to the social media platforms their audiences are migrating to.
Early tests showed promise, according to Facebook. In the early Facebook Topic Exclusion Tests, it was found that advertisers:
- Excluded, the categories of news and politics avoided news and politics in 94% of the cases.
- Excluding the categories tragedy and conflict, tragedy and conflict were avoided in 99% of the cases.
- Excluding the categories “Debated Social Issues”, the neighborhood of “Debated Social Issues” could be avoided in 95% of the cases.
More detailed news feed controls for users. Users can use their ad settings menu to determine whether they belong to the three subject exclusion categories.
The company is also testing new controls that users can use to adjust their settings for ranking in the news feed. The customizations would allow users to increase or decrease the amount of content they see from their friends, family, groups, and sites.
View in the future. “We see this product as a bridge between what we can offer today and what we want to achieve – content-based controls,” Facebook said in the announcement aimed at addressing concerns advertisers have that their ads on Facebook and Instagram feeds appear alongside specific topics based on their branding preferences. “
By the end of the year, the company also plans to work with external brand security partners to develop a solution that can verify that content in addition to being advertised in the news feed matches a brand’s suitability preferences.
About the author
George Nguyen is an editor at Search Engine Land, specializing in organic search, podcasting, and e-commerce. His background is journalism and content marketing. Prior to entering the industry, he worked as a radio personality, writer, podcast host and public school teacher.