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Facebook booting data brokers, simplifying privacy tools to bolster user confidence
The company is turning off 'Partner Categories' and adding privacy shortcuts.
Seeking to reassure users on privacy following Cambridge Analytica and the subsequent fallout, Facebook has taken two related steps. The company is simplifying its famously confusing privacy controls and ending its third party “Partner Categories” program, which allowed the importation of third party “offline” data for targeting.
Facebook issued a short statement about the end of Partner Categories:
We want to let advertisers know that we will be shutting down Partner Categories. This product enables third party data providers to offer their targeting directly on Facebook. While this is common industry practice, we believe this step, winding down over the next six months, will help improve people’s privacy on Facebook.
Partner Categories was a program that launched in 2012 to allow advertisers to use third party data on offline attributes and behaviors (e.g., purchases, income) and import them into Facebook campaigns. The participating providers included Acxiom, Epsilon, Experian Marketing Services, Oracle Data Cloud (Datalogix) and Quantium. They aggregate data from multiple public and private sources (e.g., retail transaction histories).
The company has also made its privacy and security settings easier to find and use, with new “privacy shortcuts.”