"We want to let the advertisers know that we will close the partner categories," said a Facebook spokeswoman in an email statement. "With this product, third-party data providers can offer their targeting directly on Facebook, and while this is standard practice in the industry, we believe this move will improve people's privacy on Facebook over the next six months."
Partner categories are part of the targeting options within the Facebook ad platform, which can be used to define the audience for an advertiser, and indicate how many people can be reached within specific audiences.
The data comes from these third-party sites why Facebook closes them. Earlier this month, it was discovered that Cambridge Analytica, another third-party data provider, abused Facebook user data and may have stored and shared the data against the Facebook guidelines.
Cambridge Analytica is being investigated in the US and Britain allegedly using underhanded tactics to influence the Brexit vote and the 2016 presidential election. It was also accused of using his illegal Facebook data to exert a disagreeable influence on voters.
Facebook is waiting for an audit by the UK authorities to say for sure if Cambridge Analytica has kept its user data even though it was deleted years ago. Facebook also reviewed its internal policies and promised to review other third-party developers who might have similar access to data.
The plan to phase out third-party data providers will not affect Custom Audiences, according to Facebook. Custom audiences are lists that are based on data owned by the advertiser.
Some third-party data providers also help measure advertising campaigns and analyze data such as revenue impact and brand sentiment. Facebook says they will still be involved in this work.
Advertisers, such as consumer brands, are particularly dependent on this type of third-party data because they have no direct lines to collect consumer data when most of their purchases are made. Products happen in stores they do not own. The third parties can provide them with valuable insights about the consumer.
"For some customers, that's a big part of how they advertise on Facebook," says a representative of the digital agency on condition of anonymity. "But in a sense, it's fair that if Facebook is blamed for turning third-party data collection into platform targeting, they either have to check collection practices or simply stop saying they can no longer do the platform more. "
Meanwhile, rivals like Google, Snapchat, and Twitter have similar third-party targeting tools. According to Carolyn Everson, VP of Global Ad Sales at Facebook, the company will seek to capitalize on its lack of data by redesigning the conversation on privacy and consumer information online.
"I think we have a chance to take the lead in the conversation about how consumer data is protected," said Everson AdAge in a telephone interview last week.
The data problems and consumer reaction have revealed Facebook in a way that hits the heart of its business. The main source is the data engine, which promises to understand its 2 billion users and target ads in unprecedented ways.
Advertisers now say that Facebook is trying to reposition the business, relying less on hyperlinks to personal data. targeted ads It emphasizes the long reach of the platform more than just deep data insights.
"There is a silver lining for Facebook that shuts down access to data," says another digital advertiser who speaks on condition of anonymity. "They use that as a reason to promote the reach and frequency side of the business like TV."