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Facebook will no longer use third-party data to help advertisers target you

Facebook is shutting down a marketing product that employed third-party sales data to help clients target Facebook users.

Published onMarch 29, 2018

Facebook Messenger app bubble
  • Facebook is dropping a marketing product that uses third-party data to help advertisers target its users.
  • The “Partner Categories” service will be abolished over the next six months.
  • The move arrives as Facebook makes efforts to improve user privacy.

Facebook has announced that it is shutting down its Partner Categories marketing product in the wake of increasing data protection concerns. Facebook broke the news in a brief post on its newsroom site (via recode), where it said the move would “help improve people’s privacy.”

The Partner Categories platform is backed by third-party data providers like Acxiom, Epsilon, and Experian, and aimed at helping clients better target Facebook users.

“These third-party partners collect and model data from a variety of sources, like public records, loyalty card programs, surveys and independent data providers,” says Facebook on its Partner Categories page. Facebook uses this data, as well as its own, to allow companies market to users who own a credit card, for example, or are in searching for a new car.

Facebook responds to Android data collection furore

Facebook notes this is a common industry practice but it’s facing pressure to increase data privacy and security on its platform. It appears that Facebook is dropping Partner Categories because it has no control over how the third-party data is collected.

Facebook is currently being sued and investigated on a number of fronts following the recent Cambridge Audio Analytica scandal and data harvesting claims. Partner Categories, however, is not responsible for the Cambridge Audio Audio Analytica controversy, where the U.K. company is alleged to have collected 50 million Facebook users’ data without permission.

Partner Categories will be “winding down over the next six months,” says Facebook. For some tips on how to keep your personal information private on Facebook, hit the link.

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