Facebook will be removing “sensitive information” from user profiles, including addresses, political views, sexual orientation, and religious views. These fields have existed for years on the social media platform, but will be deprecated in a December update.
Facebook to Remove Sensitive Information
Facebook gathers plenty of data from users and has extensive profile fields that allow users to link to family members, show their job history, and flag major life milestones. However, the social media site has attracted controversy in the past for how advertisers were able to use more sensitive data about users to target ads.
Now, some users are receiving notices that some profile information is “going away soon”. The update was spotted by social media consultant Matt Navarra.
But the notice has also started appearing to more users, including MUO staff. Depending on what sensitive information you have on your profile, the notice may differ. However, it confirms that the information will be removed starting 1 December 2022. Fields that will be removed include Address, Political Views, Religious Views, and Interested In.
The ability to fill in these fields pending their removal also appears to have been retired. However, on profiles that already have these fields filled in, the information remains. The company says that users can download their Facebook data before the update if they want to have a record of this information.
The move may the latest attempt to avoid the controversy that arises from including these categories on social media profiles.
In January 2022, Facebook revised its advertising targeting policies, removing the ability for advertisers to directly target users based on categories that may be considered sensitive.
The company said in a statement 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.”
But the new update seems to take a step further, removing this information from profiles completely.
Say Goodbye to Sensitive Information Fields on Facebook
How this update will play out in terms of targeted advertising remains to be seen. While the removal of this information prevents users from directly noting this information in profile fields, advertisers still have plenty of other ways to target you according to these categories by using other data points.