Facebook is really getting social. It is purchasing data from third party brokers to gather additional information about its users. The aim is to design better targeted ads.
More than just an entertainer, Facebook is doing a lot to increase its advertising domain. It has even launched block ad blockers to ensure that users see the ads.
Of course, such a calculated and targeted approach needs as much information as possible. Therefore, Facebook is buying information from different sources.
The additional information include household income, users’ shopping taste and routine, favourites and more importantly on users’ offline behavior.
It will help the social network target ad categories those are of more interest to the users.
Facebook is gathering information from almost 29,000 demographic indicators, of which 98 percent are related with user’s’ account on Facebook, according to a report from ProPublica.
On ethical concerns, Facebook asserts that since third party brokers track data, we are not ethically bound to share with our users that how do we get access to such data.
“Our approach to controls for third-party categories is somewhat different than our approach for Facebook-specific categories,” says Steve Satterfield, a Facebook privacy and public policy manager.
“This is because the data providers we work with generally make their categories available across many different ad platforms, not just on Facebook.”
On the other hand, ProPublica reports Jeffrey Chester, executive director at the Center for Digital Democracy, that “Facebook is being dishonest in these practices.”
“Facebook is bundling a dozen different data companies to target an individual customer, and an individual should have access to that bundle as well,” Chester says.
Those who want to opt-out from this track are advised by Facebook to directly contact the data brokers, which is definitely not at all an easy task. Therefore, the user is at their mercy.