Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Facebook Begins Disclosing Data Brokers and Targeting Information for Advertisements

Katie Notopoulos, BuzzFeed News:

Facebook launched a transparency tool this week that will give people a little more information about how their targeted ads work (good!). Now you can see more details about why you’re seeing an ad in your feed, how it is linked to an ad agency or data broker, and how to opt out of interest-based ad campaigns run by businesses that have your information. The bad news is that looking at it may end up just making you feel worse about how your data is passed around by third-party data brokers — credit reporting bureaus and marketing agencies — like Halloween candy.

This should at least partially solve the mysterious presence of cross-country car dealerships and furniture stores — typically, other clients associated with these data brokers — appearing on the advertising settings page for many users. But this doesn’t go far enough. If we’re going to put up with behaviourally-targeted advertising — and we should not, because it is deeply corrosive to our privacy, unethical, and not particularly effective — but if we are, then these ads should be required to list every single targeting method they’re using, plus all of the companies that had a hand in placing that ad on your screen.