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Facebook will limit data advertisers can use to target ads

It's also stopping its practice of offering anonymized data to info brokers.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
March 28, 2018
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Dominic Lipinski - PA Images via Getty Images

Facebook is still determined to reassure jittery users in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data sharing scandal, and that now includes restricting what advertisers can do. The social network is closing down a Partner Categories service that let third-party data providers offer their ad targeting directly through Facebook. Instead, they'll have to rely either on advertiser data (say, voluntarily provided emails) or Facebook itself. The program will take six months to ramp down, but Facebook product marketing director Graham Mudd said it should "improve people's privacy" when all is said and done.

Wall Street Journal sources have also heard that Facebook will stop supplying data on the success of those ad campaigns to those providers.

This wouldn't have put a stop to Cambridge Analytica's activities (it harvested data under the guise of research), and Recode noted that it might create headaches for smaller companies that can't afford to collect their own data. However, it could reduce the chances that Facebook ends up buying data collected through shady or inaccurate practices. Whatever Facebook loses in terms of sheer data it might gain by avoiding another fiasco that leads users to quit the site.

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