Facebook ad blocking for health products and services may have gender bias, study finds

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Today, the Center for Intimacy Justice (CIJ) released a report on the impact of meta ad blocking practices on health products and services specifically aimed at women and non-binary people, after a study of 60 space companies.

  • After a partnership with a pelvic floor physiotherapy startup Origin To interview 42 of these companies that offer these products and services, all of whom said they had attempted to advertise on Facebook, CIJ found that 50% of these companies had had their entire accounts suspended, at least temporarily. , by the platform.
  • Facebook breach Adult Products and Services Ads Policy is the reason Facebook most often gives for opting out of these ads, the association’s founder and CEO, Jackie Rotman, told Marketing Brew.
  • According to Facebook’s guidelines, ads cannot promote the “sale or use of adult products or services” or focus on sexual pleasure.
  • But the report points to numerous suggestive advertisements for Men’s sexual health products that have been approved for display on Facebook (including ads for Hims and Manscaped), contrasting them with far less suggestive products for women’s health products and non-binary individuals that have been rejected.

Why is this important: Facebook is the “biggest business engine” for many of these companies, Rotman, who wrote about inequality in advertising for the NYTtell us.

For example: coral, a sexual wellness company founded by a queer woman, had been advertising on Facebook since 2019, but was banned from launching app install campaigns on Facebook in June 2021 “although direct competitors can advertise and with very explicit content,” Coral Senior Marketing Manager Amy Neumann told us. “It severely affected our growth trajectory,” she said.

Marketing Brew contacted Meta about the report’s findings and Coral’s experience. “We welcome advertisements for sexual wellness products, but we prohibit nudity and have specific rules on how these products can be marketed on our platform. We have provided details to advertisers on the types of products and descriptions we allow in ads,” Meta spokesperson Devon Kearns said in response.

Sound familiar? When sex-tech company Dame pointed out similar gender biases in how the MTA enforced its advertising guidelines after its ads were rejected, the MTA essentially banned all advertisements for sexual products. Rotman doesn’t want the same results here. “We don’t want Facebook to stop allowing [ads for] ED or other brands of men’s health products. We just want to level the playing field,” she told us.—PB


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