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Facebook will cut off access to third party data for ad targeting

  • Author:chinatopwin
  • Source:chinatopwin
  • Release on:2018-03-29

In a surprise change, Facebook  will give up one major data source that the company uses to help
advertisers target relevant users on the platform. The company just announced that it will end a 
feature called Partner Categories, launched back in 2013 out of a partnership between Facebook 
and major data brokers.

Third party data helps Facebook further atomize its user base into meaningful segments for 
advertisers. As TechCrunch explained when the data partnership first launched:

“Through new partnerships with top online and offline purchase data providers Datalogix, Epsilon, 
Acxiom, and BlueKai, Facebook is now allowing advertisers to target hashed lists of existing and 
potential customers, and categories like role-playing gamers or soda drinkers.”

Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch that the change is permanent, not a temporary precaution. In 
order to leverage the deep pool of data Facebook collects on users, the company mixes 
information that it obtains from users themselves (Pages a user liked, for instance) with 
informationfrom advertisers (membership status in a loyalty program, for example) and with data 
obtained from third party providers.

While Facebook feels comfortable with the integrity of its data sourcing within the first two 
categories, it feels less settled about dipping into these aggregate pools of third party data. The 
decision was issued in light of the company’s recent privacy concerns over third-party data 

Facebook Product Marketing Director Graham Mudd elaborated on the decision in a statement:

“We want to let advertisers know that we will be shutting down Partner Categories. This product 
enables third party data providers to offer their targeting directly on Facebook. While this is 
common industry practice, we believe this step, winding down over the next six months, will help
improve people’s privacy on Facebook.”

Facebook clarified that it will still work with companies like Experian and Acxiom in order to 
measure ad performance and provide metrics, although it will also be conducting a review of 
those ongoing relationships. Facebook may also move toward sharing data in a shared server 
environment in order to offer further assurances of user privacy. As Mudd noted, the program 
will be discontinued in the coming months.