Facebook Appeases UK Gaming Regulators with Ad Opt-Out Option

Posted on: November 18, 2021, 11:14h. 

Last updated on: November 23, 2021, 09:05h.

Facebook will soon allow users to opt out of gambling-related advertisements. This announcement was welcomed by The UK Betting and Gaming Council (BGC). However, questions remain about the efficacy of the new policy.

Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, seen above, has found a friend in the UK’s BGC, despite increasing lack of confidence in other countries around the world. (Image: NBC News)

Facebook’s new opt-out options are a series of new measures to improve its overall online environment.

Michael Dugher, CEO of the BGC, stated that this was yet another sign of the group’s commitment toward raising standards within the regulated sector.

“I welcome this move by Facebook, and I would urge all social media and search platforms to provide the ability for users to opt-out of viewing betting adverts,” Dugher said. “The regulated betting and gaming industry is determined to promote safer gambling, unlike the unsafe and growing online black market, which has none of the safeguards which are commonplace among BGC members.”

Too Soon to Tell

However, some are skeptical of Facebook’s new policy will really be efficient.

Facebook has a history of making promises to clean up its act and its image but has repeatedly demonstrated that it isn’t able to fulfill its obligations. This has caused the company numerous regulatory issues in the past and could cause problems Down Under.

Reset Australia recently released a scathing report showing that Facebook is not doing enough to keep gambling ads away from children. That’s despite a mandate to be more proactive with its controls and protocols. This has put the company in a bad light in Australia, with Reset Australia highlighting that the same problems that existed six months ago are still present today.

If Facebook is, in fact, working to become a better corporate citizen in the UK, it could be for ulterior motives, and not because of any internal call for better social responsibility. There is already a strong presence of social gaming on Facebook’s platforms, and this past September, it began introducing fantasy sports and predictive games.

Report Show Mis-Information Spread

Facebook has also come under fire for continuing to spread misinformation.

According to a recent report, Facebook has not made significant improvements in checking misinformation spread on the site.

The report specifically found that alleged misinformation on Spanish-speaking channels is rampant, despite repeated attempts by groups to work with Facebook on changes.

“Facebook has not been transparent at all,” Jacobo Licona of Equis Labs told the L.A. Times. He added that Facebook “has not been cooperative with lawmakers or Latinx-serving organizations” working on disinformation.

The report published in the Los Angeles Times is titled “What Facebook knew about its Latino-aimed disinformation problem.”

If Facebook isn’t able to successfully address these previous issues, it’s likely the company will be able to regulate gaming content, critics say.

BGC’s Role

One role of the BGC is to make sure gambling social media ads are targeted at consumers over 25. The exception to that rule is certain lotteries, which can be targeted to those 18 and over.

As a sign of the industry’s determination to raise standards, at least 20% of their radio and TV ads contain safer gambling messages.