Facebook Adds Safeguards In Order To Prevent User Data Abuse

Reports indicate that social media giant is adding safeguards aimed at preventing user data abuse following the Cambridge Analytica backlash. Some of the safeguards Facebook is introducing include a certification tool which will demand guarantees from marketers that the email addresses they use to target ads were rightfully obtained. Per sources the certification tool was described by representatives of Facebook to marketing clients.

Additionally Facebook will make it impossible for Custom Audience data from being shared across business accounts. Whenever data is imported from Custom Audiences into Facebook, the advertising clients will be required to give assurances of the fact that efforts have been made to obtain proper user content.

Data consent

“We’ve always had terms in place to ensure that advertisers have consent for data they use but we’re going to make that much more prominent and educate advertisers on the way they can use the data,” said a spokesperson for Facebook Elisabeth Diana.

The move is part of efforts by Facebook to avoid further misuse of data that has been illegaly obtained after app developed by researcher Aleksandr Kogan was able to pull data from users of Facebook totaling 50 million before it then went into the hands of Cambridge Analytica. It is suspected that this data was then deployed by Cambridge Analytica in both the Brexit and Trump campaigns. The two campaigns reached voters using Custom Audiences.

High-level ad targeting

The social media platform unveiled Custom Audiences six years ago with a view to allowing advertisers to aim their advertising campaigns to specific people rather than broad demographics by letting businesses upload lists of phone numbers and email addresses belonging to customers. Within a short time the tool became one of most successful advertising solutions from Facebook since it allowed advertisers to reach existing customers easily with a view to driving repeat sales.

This comes in the wake of Facebook banning ad targeting by third-party brokers such as Acxiom and Experian by shuttering a marketing feature known as Partner Categories. The move has been driven by the fact that Facebook possesses very little control over how and where the third-party brokers collect their data and this poses significant risks for the social media giant. With the ban advertisers will now have to depend on data obtained and provided by Facebook in order to target. Some observers have said this will result in Facebook becoming a walled-garden ecosystem consequently boosting the social media giant’s profits.


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