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Targeted ads hit as Facebook cuts ties with data brokers

Targeted ads hit as Facebook cuts ties with data brokers

One of Facebook’s key USPs has taken a blow with news that the platform is attempting to move away from targeted advertising.

Reuters reports that Facebook has confirmed it is ending deals with several large data brokers who design targeted advertising models. Facebook has for years given advertisers the option of targeting their content according to data collected by partners such as Acxiom and Experian.

Data relating to user purchases will remain available to advertisers.

“We want to let advertisers know that we will be shutting down Partner Categories,” said Facebook product marketing director Graham Mudd.

“This product enables third-party data providers to offer their targeting directly on Facebook. While this is common industry practice, we believe this step, winding down over the next six months, will help improve people’s privacy on Facebook.”

Acxiom shares took a big hit following the announcement.

New user control settings

Facebook has also rolled out changes to how users can manage their data settings. These options had previously been scattered over as many as 20 screens, Facebook said, although they are now available in a single control panel.

The site claims these changes have been in the pipeline for some time, but that development was sped up owing to recent scandals.

“It’s also our responsibility to tell you how we collect and use your data in language that’s detailed, but also easy to understand," read a statement from Facebook chief privacy officer Erin Egan and deputy general counsel Ashlie Beringer.

"In the coming weeks, we’ll be proposing updates to Facebook’s terms of service that include our commitments to people. We’ll also update our data policy to better spell out what data we collect and how we use it. These updates are about transparency – not about gaining new rights to collect, use, or share data.

“We’ve worked with regulators, legislators and privacy experts on these tools and updates. We’ll have more to share in the coming weeks, including updates on the measures Mark Zuckerberg shared last week.”

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