Facebook is to pull the plug on third-party data partnerships – including lucrative deals with Acxiom, Experian and Epsilon – which allow advertisers on the social media site to access highly detailed personal information on its users.
First launched in 2014 as the Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer programme, the scheme was relaunched and rebranded in 2015 as the Facebook Marketing Partners Programme.
Designed to help Facebook’s advertisers better connect with people more inclined to buy certain products or services, the scheme has become the latest victim of the continuing scandal around how Cambridge Analytica was able to gain access to 50 million Facebook users.
As well as Experian and Acxiom – whose shares fell 10% following the announcement – the move also affects scores of other companies, including Oracle Data Cloud and TransUnion, as well as a number of WPP agencies.
It is also likely to scupper its deal with DunnHumby, signed in 2016, which included a major contract to match up Facebook’s 37 million-strong UK dataset with DunnHumby’s database of 17 million UK shoppers.
Graham Mudd, a product marketing director at Facebook, said: “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.”
Advertisers will still be able to users through Facebook’s own data, as well as their own first-party data.
Facebook has also revealed plans overhaul its terms of service and data policies in an effort to improve transparency about how the site collects and uses information.
The social media giant said a new privacy shortcuts menu will allow users to quickly increase account security, manage who can see their information and activity on the site, and control advertisements they see.
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