Facebook test lets you hide upsetting ads

It's an acknowledgment that targeted ads are sometimes insensitive.

Targeted ads can be annoying, but they're much worse when they're insensitive to tragedies in your life. If you lose a child, seeing ads for children's products is understandably traumatic. Facebook wants to change this. It's testing a feature that lets you hide potentially upsetting ads. The option is currently restricted to blocking ads for alcohol and parenting products, but the social network tells Ad Age that it may add other topics if users report concerns.

It's part of a larger change to ad preferences that should make them easier to use than before. They're both more visual and remain consistent whether you view them from your settings or the ad itself.

This is just a test, and a broader rollout will likely depend on its success. Even so, it's a big shift for Facebook. The company has been willing to let you skew the type of ads you see, but it hasn't given you the option of completely wiping out certain ads. It's an admission that short-term ad money isn't everything -- there's not much point to showing you an ad if it's so insensitive that it leads you to quit Facebook.