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04 May 2018
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Facebook No Longer Allows Ad Targeting With Third-Party Data

After the recent disaster with Cambridge Analytica and user’s data, Facebook is shutting down Partner Categories. But what are Partner Categories? And what does this mean for Facebook’s third-party advertising? Keep reading to find out.

What are Partner Categories?

Partner Categories are a form of target-specific advertising that allowed third-party data companies to release client data, information like purchasing activity. It’s worth noting that Partner Categories are not what enabled Cambridge Analytica to access the data. Rather, the data were purchased from a separate third-party.

The decision to remove Partner Categories is a preventative measure. Facebook hopes that it will ward off other firms from illegally mining data in the future. Facebook isn’t the only tech company who is attempting to better safeguard their customer’s data. Companies around the world are feeling the pressure to ensure that information is better handled.

How will this change ads seen on Facebook?

Facebook believes that the removal of this form of advertising will help alleviate Facebook privacy concerns. It will also see a reduction in those advertisements that are so closely related to what you’ve been thinking that you believe someone is listening to your conversations. These ads are so eerily in sync with your thoughts because they were expertly targeted based on purchasing habits on other websites.

What does this mean for third-party advertising on Facebook?

Those businesses that opt for third-party advertising on Facebook pages can still access a vast amount of data to be used in targeting visitors. Although, it’s thought that the changes coming into force could most affect those small- to medium-sized businesses.

This is due to the fact that small businesses tend to have access to less customer data than big corporations. They are the ones who would have typically benefited greatly from information from companies such as Experian. However, Facebook has stated they will still be working with these companies, but in a different capacity. Facebook representatives say they’ll continue to work with them to generate insightful metrics that are useful and measure ad performance. However, they have also stated that the technicalities of this relationship will be watched more closely and with caution.

Some changes in the way Facebook allows third-party apps to gain access to data on Facebook include:

  • Changes to Group API which will make it much more difficult to access information about members of a group
  • Access to Pages API, which will first need to be approved by Facebook. This will limit access to selected and trusted third-party applications.

The removal of third-party advertising is a decision that Facebook hopes will restore faith and confidence in the company’s ability to protect their privacy and data. It has certainly been a wise move in light of recent scandals. As time moves forward, and with new data protection laws set in the EU (GDPR), and the potential for the same in the USA, we will stay tuned to see just how Facebook advertising will evolve.

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