Facebook Will Soon Require Proof of User Consent for Ad Targeting by Email

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After being the subject of scrutiny following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook will be introducing more changes to their platform to safeguard their users from data misuse. In order to protect users’ data, Facebook will launch a new Custom Audiences certification tool.

This will be a certification tool that requires advertisers to provide proof that they have received user consent for targeting them. Additionally, Techcrunch added that it “will prevent the sharing of Custom Audience data across business accounts”.

A spokesperson for Facebook, Elisabeth Diana, confirmed that they were building a permissions tool that will require advertisers to certify that they have received permission to use audience data. Facebook is taking action to address user’s concerns with data privacy, which has been a growing issue for them since the news of the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke a few weeks ago.

Diana added: “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. The change isn’t in response to a specific incident, but Facebook does plan to re-review the way it works with third-party data measurement firms to ensure everything is responsibly used. This is a way to safeguard data.”

Originally, Facebook launched Custom Audiences in 2012. The purpose of it was to allow advertisers to upload lists of emails, phone numbers, and other personal information which in turn they used to target particular audiences.

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In the Custom Audiences terms of service, Facebook states that businesses must have “provided appropriate notice to and secured any necessary consent from the data subjects” in order to use their data. However, Facebook has not enforced these terms in the past.

As noted by Techcrunch, it is unclear how their new Custom Audiences certification tool will work, as it is still being built. Facebook will also prevent Custom Audience data from being shared across business accounts. It is still unknown how the Custom Audience sharing ban will roll out, as Facebook declined to comment.

This is the most recent of a series of changes Facebook is making to their platform. Last week, they announced that they would be shutting down Partner Categories, which is a feature that allows advertisers to target users based on third-party data collected by data brokers. Some of the data brokers Facebook partnered with include Epsilon, WPP, Oracle, and Acxiom. In addition, Facebook has also recently updated their privacy and transparency tools by improving their privacy shortcuts, layout settings.

Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has been faced with mounting backlash from the public. According to a recent survey conducted by securities firm Raymond James, 43% of users said they were “very concerned” about their data privacy, and 20% said they would be using Facebook “significantly less” in the wake of the scandal. With this in mind, it is easy to see why Facebook is taking so many measures to improve data privacy and security – they need to redeem themselves.


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