Facebook users are understandably concerned with how the social network treats their data.

This concern is not unfounded given the revelations in the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Facebook is having to work overtime to salvage its reputation.

Yesterday they announced improvements it was making to its privacy options in a bid to make it easier for users to control. About time if you ask us.

Now the firm has announced that it will be shutting down Partner Categories for advertisers, but what exactly are Partner Categories?

Facebook describes this feature as such:

“These categories allow you to further refine your targeting based on information compiled by these partners, such as offline demographic and behavioral information like homeownership or purchase history.”

This “offline” data was compiled using Facebook Marketing Partners who provided Facebook with audience data. These partners include companies such as Oracle Data Cloud, which touts on Facebook’s Business page that “Oracle Data Cloud helps marketers target relevant audiences and measure digital campaigns with the best in offline, purchase-based data.”

If you’ve ever got the feeling that Facebook advertisers knew what you bought at the shops there’s a good chance it does thanks to the Partner Categories.

The good news is that this sort of data sharing will come to an end, only it won’t be immediately.

“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,” the firm said in a statement.

This news doesn’t affect us too much here in South Africa as Partner Categories were only available to advertisers in the US, Brazil, France, Germany, the UK, Australia and Japan.

Whether there were ever plans to bring the feature to South Africa is unclear but at least we now know it will never come here.

 

[Source – Facebook] [Image – CC 0 Pixabay]
Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.