Facebook releases new privacy safeguards after ceding to pressure from advertisers

Facebook is installing new controls it says will better inform its members about the way companies are targeting them with advertising, the latest step to quell a public outcry over the company’s mishandling of user data.


Facebook says the new policies will create more transparency for its users and require more accountability from advertisers - Reuters

Starting on July 2, Facebook Inc for the first time will require advertisers to tell its users if a so-called data broker supplied information that led to them being served with an ad. Data brokers are firms that collect personal information about consumers and sell it to marketers and other businesses.

Facebook has also set up new procedures for the handling of names of potential customers supplied by data brokers. Advertisers seeking to upload lists of these prospects onto Facebook’s platform will first have to promise that the data vendor obtained any legally required consent from those consumers.

Facebook says the new policies will create more transparency for its users and require more accountability from advertisers.

“We are not taking a position on whether third-party data is inherently good or bad,” said Graham Mudd, a director of product marketing at Facebook. “We are taking a position on the importance of having the right to use the data and for it to have been sourced responsibly.”

The new policies are the second big push by Facebook this year to shore up its policy regarding data brokers.

On March 28, Facebook moved to banish data brokers from its platform as part of efforts to burnish its image. But the company quickly softened its stance after big marketers threatened to pull their ad dollars from Facebook, according to three people familiar with the decision.

Advertisers said the restrictions on data brokers would hurt their ability to aim their ads at customers most likely to buy their products.
Details of advertisers’ pushback, and Facebook’s retreat, have not been previously reported.

A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed that the company shifted its position within days because of “feedback from advertisers.”

She said sponsors will still be able to use information purchased from third-party vendors to target Facebook users with ads, albeit under stricter conditions than before.

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