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Facebook shuts down third-party data targeting for advertisers

Technology & Data

Facebook shuts down third-party data targeting for advertisers


Advertisers will no longer be able to use third-party data for targeting on Facebook.

In a brief FB Newsroom post, Facebook says it is shutting down Partner Categories – ad targeting options that rely on consumer data from third parties such as Acxiom, Oracle Data Cloud, Experian and others. It’s another move to reassure users of their data security after the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Facebook partnered with these third-party data providers, including Cambridge Analytica, to help advertisers reach specific targets on the platform. “While this is common industry practice,” says the post, “we believe this step, winding down over the next six months, will help improve people’s privacy on Facebook.”

The move is a large step in response to the scandal, and will likely see the advertising landscape on Facebook’s platforms change significantly. “These data providers have some of the deepest insights into consumer behaviour across the world,” says Garett Sloane on AdAge, “information on what people buy, where they shop, what kind of cars they drive, health profiles, incomes, family makeup – and they are integral to the entire digital ad ecosystem.”

Facebook is also making its privacy tools easier for users to find. In another Newsroom post, Erin Egan, VP and chief privacy officer, policy, and Ashlie Beringer, VP and deputy general counsel, concede “last week showed how much more work we need to do to enforce our policies and help people understand how Facebook works and the choices they have over their data.”

The post ‘It’s time to make our privacy tools easier to find’ outlines three main changes:

  • Making data settings and tools easier to find: this includes redesigning the entire settings menu on mobile devices, so that privacy settings previously spread across nearly 20 different screens are now accessible from a single place.
  • New Privacy Shortcuts menu: the menu will allow users to control their data in just a few taps, with clearer explanations of how controls work, aiming to make it easier to make accounts more secure, control a user’s personal information, control what information Facebook uses to show a user ads, and manage who sees posts and profile information.
  • Tools to find, download and delete Facebook data: Access Your Information is a way for users to asses their public profiles through posts, reactions, comments and searches and delete anything from their timeline or profile that they no longer want on Facebook. It will also become easier to download the data users have shared with Facebook. The secure download includes photos, contacts, timeline posts and more.

“It’s your data, after all,” says the post.

Consumer goods brands are particularly reliant on third-party data, because they don’t have independant methods to collect vast consumer data – huge amounts of purchases of their items are made in physical stores that they do not own. Rivals Google, Snapchat, Twitter and others have similar third-party targeting tools and as yet have no plans to shut them down.


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Image copyright: veresovich / 123RF Stock Photo

Ben Ice

Ben Ice was MarketingMag editor from August 2017 - February 2020

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