Facebook expands users' ad targeting profiles with website data

SAN FRANCISCO Thu Jun 12, 2014 3:48pm IST

A portrait of the Facebook logo in Ventura, California December 21, 2013. REUTERS/Eric Thayer/Files

A portrait of the Facebook logo in Ventura, California December 21, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Eric Thayer/Files

Related Topics

Stocks

   

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc is expanding the internal user profiles that underpin its targeted advertising system, for the first time including personal information based on activities that did not occur within the boundaries of its social network.

While Facebook has long maintained internal profiles of users based on the comments they make and the posts that they “like” within its social network, the company will now flesh out those profiles with information based on some of the external websites and mobile apps its members use, a move that could further inflame concerns about how it treats personal privacy.

The enhanced profiles will allow marketers to deliver more relevant ads, Facebook said in a blog post announcing the change on Thursday. If a Facebook user researches a new television on an external website or inside of a mobile app, their profile might now indicate an interest in televisions and in electronics, making it easier for advertisers pitching electronic devices to reach that user on Facebook.

Facebook already has access to much of this information through tools that it uses to measure the performance of its ads as well as through "plug-ins" that integrate Facebook features on third-party websites, but the company has not until now incorporated the data into its users' ad targeting profiles.

To quell potential privacy concerns, Facebook will for the first time give users the ability to review and edit their internal advertising profiles. By clicking on a button alongside Facebook ads, a user can see all the “interests” on their record, remove unwanted categories and add any desired categories.

Facebook said it will also provide a link to an industry website that will allow users to not have their activities on websites tracked, as well as a link to the appropriate controls within their smartphones to eliminate mobile app tracking.

The new ad capabilities come as Facebook strives to ramp up its advertising revenue amid competition from Google Inc while addressing persistent concerns about personal privacy on the world’s No.1 social network.

In April, Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg announced new features that lets users limit how much personal information they share with third-party mobile apps.

Facebook, Google and other online companies have faced increasing scrutiny and enforcement from privacy regulators as consumers entrust ever-increasing amounts of information about their personal lives to Web services.

In 2012, Facebook settled privacy charges with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission that it had deceived consumers and forced them to share more personal information than they intended. Under the settlement, Facebook is required to get user consent for certain changes to its privacy settings and is subject to 20 years of independent audits.

(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Bernard Orr)

FILED UNDER:

Tech Wrap

Reuters Showcase

Reuters Poll

Reuters Poll

Oil price will average less in 2015 than during financial crisis - Reuters Poll.  Full Article 

Stake Sale

Stake Sale

Strong demand for Coal India boosts privatisation drive.  Full Article 

New Italy President

New Italy President

Italy elects senior judge Sergio Mattarella as president.  Full Article 

Pharma Deal

Pharma Deal

Sun Pharmaceutical wins U.S. approval to buy Ranbaxy  Full Article 

SpiceJet Bailout

SpiceJet Bailout

SpiceJet board approves up to $243 mln share sale plan  Full Article 

AirAsia Jet Crash

AirAsia Jet Crash

AirAsia captain left seat before jet lost control - sources  Full Article 

India Art Fair

India Art Fair

Art fair turns India's capital into art hub.  Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

"Rahasya" is an ode to Agatha Christie.  Full Article 

Review: Hawaizaada

Review: Hawaizaada

Movie Review: Hawaizaada  Full Article | Related Story 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage