Free social media platforms like Facebook and other services like Google and others depend on advertisement as the main source of their revenue, given their huge user base. As such, these companies are always improving their platform to convince you that ads are worthwhile.
After the advent of personalized ads based on your search history and activity on the web, the newest endeavor in the improvement of ads comes from Facebook. The company doesn’t seem to be satisfied with the data its users share across the social media platform in order to generate ads.
A new report published by ProPublica, an investigative journalistic NGO, reveals that Facebook has recently started to offline user data which reveals their real-life behavior and status. Facebook initially signed a deal with Datalogix in 2012, regarding the purchase of third-party data on its users. However, the report reveals that the Facebook is working with six other companies in the US in order to collect third-party data which reveals their offline behavior in order to develop better ads for their social media platform.
More precisely, Facebook is working with Experian, Epsilon, Acxiom, Oracle Data Cloud, WPP, and TransUnion. These companies collect financial information on their users. The report reveals that Facebook is buying data from these companies from the categories such as household income, investable assets and more.
The ProPublica report clarifies that despite Facebook’s new offline user data shopping spree, the vast majority of information that Facebook provides to ad buyers is still directly from user interactions with their site. More precisely, Facebook provides around 29,000 first-party categories for ads, while only around 600 categories come from third-party sources.
To make matters worse, it is very difficult for users to stop these third-party providers of offline user data to collect and sell your information to Facebook. The opt-out process is overly complicated, as it requires to contact each company directly and it’s buried behind various measures you need to take, which many users don’t want to deal with.
Furthermore, Facebook has stated it doesn’t have the responsibility of informing their users on how they use third-party offline user data since they are not the ones doing the tracking.
Image source: Pixabay