Facebook Ends Partnerships With Several Large Data Brokers

The news of Cambridge Analytica data scandal forced Facebook to make adjustments to its platform. One of the changes made by the company was to end partnerships with data brokers effective immediately.

The logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square, Thursday, March 29, 2018.
Richard Drew / AP Images

The news of Cambridge Analytica data scandal forced Facebook to make adjustments to its platform. One of the changes made by the company was to end partnerships with data brokers effective immediately.

For a number of weeks, Facebook has experienced backlash and scrutiny over the data breach with a data analysis company. The social network announced this past Wednesday it was terminating partnerships with large data brokers following the data breach of 50 million users.

The suspension of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica unraveled apparent problems over how user data was utilized. According to Reuters, Facebook is under pressure to improve its handling of data after it was publicly known that troves of information from 50 million Facebook users ended up in the hands of the data firm.

At the same time of ending partnerships with data companies, Facebook also made tweaks to its privacy settings. In other words, it was giving users greater control of their information in just a few taps.

“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,” according to a statement by Graham Mudd, a Facebook product marketing director.

Facebook has been known to be an effective marketing channel to target everything from products to services. As mentioned in the above report, the social channel has authorized advertisers to target advertising based on the data collected by Acxiom Corp and Experian PLC.

Users on Facebook will now have the ability to adjust their privacy settings. The new update by the social media giant will bring all privacy controls on a single page. Before, the privacy settings were distributed in approximately 20 screens with lots of complicated configurations.

“Facebook said in a blog post it had been working on the updates for some time but sped things up to appease users’ anger over how the company uses data and as lawmakers around the globe call for regulation.”

After Facebook made the announcement to end partnerships with data brokers, the information commissioner from the U.K. welcomed the news.

“I welcome Facebook’s announcement that it will be shutting down its partner category service, using third party data to inform targeted advertising,” Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said in a statement on Thursday.

Facebook’s latest initiatives are in light of mounting pressure from lawmakers in the U.S. and in the U.K. In addition, the revelations of the data leak prompted lawsuits aimed at both companies over its data use. Also, the Federal Trade Commission has launched an investigation into Facebook.

The scandal over the data leak will not go away anytime soon. For Facebook, it also means they will have to work on regaining the public’s trust. As reported by Statista, Facebook’s trust barometer is just 41 percent. To the contrary, exactly 51 percent of people do not trust the company. The results were based on a Reuters and Ipsos poll.