Facebook Bows Down to Advertisers, Bringing Back Data Brokers – Promises Transparency and Accountability


Facebook will now require advertisers to share data with users if a data broker supplied information to those advertisers that led to a certain ad being served to a user. Data brokers are companies that collect personal information about users through different platforms and then sell it to businesses and advertisers for targeted marketing.

Facebook is effectively saying it's no longer going to take dirt for what third party companies decide to do using its platform. However, to some, this may appear as bowing down to advertiser pressure.

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While helping these same companies in the past helped the social networking giant's goals of reaching to more people and making more money, this relationship has ended up causing it a lot of troubles with the governments and watchdogs since the Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal.

Facebook suggests its new controls will better "inform its members about the way companies are targeting them with advertising," Reuters reports. These rules will go live on July 2 that will require advertisers to tell users when "a so-called data broker supplied information that led to them being served with an ad."

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

Facebook promises transparency but this is more like a pullback from earlier promised protections

In March, the company had promised to ban data brokers from its platform. However, according to Reuters, this led to advertisers threaten Facebook with pulling their ad dollars.

"Dollars would go to other places if we can’t find suitable alternatives," one of the executives told the publication. It appears that the company is now okay with advertisers using data broker firms as long as they are being transparent about it.

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The company is also announcing new procedures for the handling of names of potential customers supplied by data brokers. Reuters reports that "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 believes that these new policies will create more transparency. However, looking at its past and even recent decisions where it was easily persuaded by third party companies to change its policies won't help it gain any user confidence.

- In the meantime, Apple's war against the social networking giant continues