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Data Drain: Facebook to Stop Letting Advertisers See User Info from Third Parties

Kim White/Getty Images
Kim White/Getty Images

Facebook is beginning to limit the data available to advertisers following their most recent user data scandal. Its latest move is to limit information from third party sources previously available to ad buyers.

Recode reports that Facebook has stated that they will begin to stop using data from third-party data aggregation companies like Experian and Acxiom as they attempt to deal with the fallout of their latest user data scandal. Until recently, Facebook allowed advertisers to target users from multiple sources. This included data from Facebook collected from user activity and profiles, data from advertisers such as customer emails that they’ve collected themselves, and data from third-party companies such as Experian, who collect offline data such as user purchasing activity. When some of this information is used by marketers during ad targeting, Facebook gives a percentage of that ad sale to the data providers.

Graham Mudd, a product marketing director at the company, commented on the company’s decision to sever their ties with third-party data aggregation companies saying, “We want to let advertisers know that we will be shutting down Partner Categories.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.”

This seems to be Facebook’s first step towards cleaning up their public image following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been called to testify before a second panel of U.S. lawmakers in Congress recently in relation to the social media giant’s latest user data scandal. The Senate Judiciary Committee urged Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who chairs the committee, to call on Zuckerberg to testify about the recent alleged misuse of Facebook users’ data. Grassley confirmed that he asked the Facebook CEO to testify at an upcoming hearing relating to data privacy that would examine “the protection and monitoring of consumer data.” Facebook is also under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission over the scandal related to data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica. The FTC has now stated that they are investigating the social media company’s internal user privacy practices.

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