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  • Writer's picturePaul Burston

Open letter to Facebook

Updated: Mar 4, 2022

This morning I received an email from Facebook, sorry Meta, informing me of the following -

"Hi Paul,

As a reminder, we’ve removed some targeting options from our ads system. In order to better meet audience expectations, we’re removing categories that are infrequently used or related to potentially sensitive topics – like health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion or sexual orientation.

This change directly impacts campaigns you are currently running, and you will not be able to select these targeting options for future ads. Adjust your ads by removing or replacing any targeting options that are flagged in Ads Manager before 17 March or they could be automatically revised or paused."

Sexual orientation is not a "sensitive topic". It's a widely recognised social demographic. I run LGBTQ+ events. I regularly use targeting options like "sexual orientation" to better target my ads on social media, ensuring that they reach the right people. I know of many other LGBTQ+ people and businesses who do the same. This move by Facebook, sorry Meta, will seriously limit our ability to reach our target audiences.

I've composed this letter to Facebook, sorry Meta, which several people have already agreed to sign.

If you'd like to add your name, please do so in the comments below.

Thank you,


Dear Meta for Business,

We’re writing as LGBTQ+ activists, authors, educators, performers, producers, promoters and venue owners who regularly use Facebook / Instagram ads to market our events and raise awareness of issues directly affecting our communities.

Removing the sexual orientation category from your targeting options makes it near impossible for us to effectively share information and accurately target our ads to reach potential audiences. Under Human Rights law, sexual orientation is not a "sensitive topic". The term you're looking for is "protected characteristic."

We urge you to reconsider this step, which will adversely affect LGBTQ+ users of Facebook and Instagram and our supporters.


Paul Burston - author & producer

Rick Dove - poet

Cerys Evans - playwright & performer

John R Gordon - author & publisher

Derek Farrell - author

Abi Fellows - literary agent

Jason Ford - artist & venue owner

Nikita Gill - author & poet

Matthew Hodson - NAM

Ed James - author

Ty Jeffries - composer & entertainer

Beth Lewis - author

David Llewellyn - author

Linda Marric - film critic

Mark O'Connell - author

Chris Penney

QX Magazine

Alun Saunders

Darren Styles OBE - publisher, Attitude Magazine

Mark Wardel - artist

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Christopher Penney
Christopher Penney
03. März 2022

Chris Penney

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John Russell Gordon
John Russell Gordon
01. März 2022

John R Gordon

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