Acxiom has admitted that Facebook’s decision to scrap third-party data deals could cost the company up to $25m (£18m), amid suggestions that it was serious concerns raised by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office over the Marketing Partners Programme which ultimately triggered the move.
While the closure of the scheme will also hit Experian, DunnHumby and Epsilon, among others, Acxiom is the only company to comment on the move, following a fall in its share price. Late last week it was down by 20%; at one stage it was down 34%.
However, a defiant chief executive Scott Howe insisted that understanding the “critical importance of ethically sourced data and strong data governance” are among the company’s strengths. “It will always be true that the ethical use of data creates tremendous value for both businesses and consumers,” he added.
Meanwhile, the ICO has revealed for the first time that it had already contacted Facebook over its use of third-party data as part of its ongoing investigation into political advertising. It said it had told the social media giant that the practice was “a significant area of concern”.
This version of events differs significantly from Facebook’s; the company had suggested it had made the decision itself “to help improve people’s privacy” following the ongoing Cambridge Analytica row.
Backing the demise of the scheme, Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said: “I welcome Facebook’s announcement that it will be shutting down its partner category service, using third party data to inform targeted advertising.
“I have been examining this service in the context of my wider investigation into the use of personal data for political purposes and had raised it with Facebook as a significant area of concern. The use of third party sources of data will be covered in more detail in the report my office will publish soon.”
Facebook tears up data deals with Acxiom and Experian
Cambridge Analytica chief steps down from DMA role
ICO applies for warrant as Facebook scandal escalates
Cambridge Analytica row ‘lets genie out of the bottle’
Facebook brings in DunnHumby for major data push
Acxiom nets Facebook data business