Fast Company: Instead of surveillance, what if we told advertisers what they wanted to know?

Originally published: Fast Company, 30 March 2019

Companies may one day decide to forget everything they think they know about us, and just use the data we give them.

After last year’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook announced a major change to its ad targeting system. As of October, the company has permanently eliminated its “Partner Categories” feature, which had enabled advertisers targeting hyper-specific user demographics to do so by purchasing access, through Facebook, to consumer data gathered by third-party brokers like Acxiom, Datalogix, Epsilon, BlueKai, Oracle, and others.

In effect, the social network decided it no longer wanted to be responsible for data that it didn’t directly control. Advertisers can still use Facebook’s own powerful internal tools to micro-target users, but if they wish to use third-party data, they’ll need to acquire it themselves and certify that it has been obtained appropriately.

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