Facebook Takes Next Step In Protecting Online User Privacy From Advertisers

Facebook Takes Next Step In Protecting Online User Privacy From Advertisers

Facebook has released new safeguards as a way to control how its advertisers handle user data. According to NBC News, Facebook has installed new controls to inform its online users about how companies are targeting them with advertising.

Beginning July 2, advertisers will be required to inform Facebook users if they’re being shown an ad because their information was obtained by a data broker. A data broker is a firm that collects personal data about consumers to sell to businesses for marketing information.

Facebook’s new policies are meant to create a greater sense of transparency for its users. They’ll also require more accountability from the social media giant’s advertisers.

“We are not taking a position on whether third-party data is inherently good or bad,” said Graham Mudd, Facebook’s director of product marketing.

“We are taking a position on the importance of having the right to use the data and for it have been sourced responsibly,” Mudd said.

These new policies are Facebook’s latest push against data brokers in the shadow of the company’s major data breach. Facebook had initially moved to ban data brokers on March 28, but major marketers threatened to pull funding.

According to a Facebook spokesperson, the advertisers said restrictions on data brokers would hurt their ability to target ads at the 1.97 billion Facebook users that are active around the world every month.

Still, Facebook has had to make a series of moves against data brokers to repair its reputation after recent data scandals. The most recent scandal involved Cambridge Analytica’s theft of private information from 87 million people.

Prior to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, many Americans were unaware their data was being harvested by data brokers for marketing purposes. Since then, Facebook has attempted to find a balance between the public’s desire for greater privacy and its advertisers’ demands for access to consumer information.

“Facebook is caught between tremendous pressures from marketers and privacy demands from policymakers and the public,” said Kathryn Montgomery, a Communications professor specializing in media and privacy issues at American University.

Still, a recent Reuters poll of 1,780 people shows that advertisers may also need to find a balance when it comes to obtaining information from online consumers. Up to 59% of those in the survey report that they would use a social media website less often if they knew a tech firm was partnering with a data broker.

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