Meta removes religious, political and sexual preference fields from Facebook profiles

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Meta has started notifying Facebook users that it is removing several profile information fields, to streamline the platform and make it “easier to navigate”.

Although I’m not sure it will have a huge impact.

As you can see in this notificationwhich was shared by the social media expert Matt NavarreMeta sends notifications to users who have filled in the following fields informing them that they will soon be deleted:

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

Meta confirmed the removal of these profile items, 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 send notifications to people who have filled in these fields, informing them that these fields will be deleted. This change does not affect anyone’s ability to share this information about themselves elsewhere on Facebook.

So if you have entered this information, it will soon be erased and will no longer be displayed to visitors to your Facebook presence.

But that will impact ad targeting, right? If people can’t indicate their religious affiliation, you won’t be able to use it as an advertising element.

In fact, Meta has already removed all of these as ad targeting options, as part of an overhaul of its data options. earlier this year.

As Meta explained at the time:

Effective January 19, 2022, we will remove Detailed targeting options related to topics that people may perceive as sensitive, such as options referring to causes, organizations or public figures related to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation , religion or sexual orientation.

Meta implemented this change to better align with Europe GDPR, which prohibits the targeting of users on this basis, unless they have each individually provided their explicit consent. This law came into effect in 2018, and Meta had opposed it, but with the wider global move towards more privacy and more data control for users, Meta finally conceded the point and fell in line. about stricter privacy regulations. .

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

In essence, Meta no longer requires you to share this information on your profile, and each of these could also lead to discrimination and harm simply by being present. So it’s probably best to remove them, but the overall impact on the operation of the platform will be largely unchanged.

“But wait,” I hear you say, “with Apple’s iOS privacy update, Meta can’t track my location anymore, can it? So it needs my address.

No. Apple ATT Update allows users to block apps, like Facebook, from tracking their activity through other apps and websites – so if you turn it off, Facebook cannot, for example, track what you do in other apps, or your web browsing behavior, in order to supplement what it already knows about you from of its own applications. But it can track your activity within its platforms, which, unless you have opted out, includes your location.

Again, the impact is pretty much nil, while the potential downsides of having this information on your page could cause unnecessary damage. So better just remove it.

Now you know why you are getting this notification in the app.

Meta indicates that all of these fields will be disabled by December 1st.

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