Last week, Facebook made an announcement that it would soon stop showing Audience Reach estimates to its advertisers due to vulnerabilities that were found in the system. In a follow-up to that discovery, the social media platform is now developing a certification tool as a solution to this problem.
A statement sent by a Facebook representative to a client says, “Coming soon a new Custom Audiences certification tool and process for any Custom Audience data imported into Facebook. Advertisers will be required to represent and warrant that proper user consent has been obtained for the use of any data uploaded.” Elisabeth Diana, a spokesperson for Facebook, met this statement with this reply: “I can confirm there is a permissions tool that we’re building. It will require that advertisers and the agencies representing them pledge that ‘I certify that I have permission to use this data’ ”.
With regard to the upcoming certification tool, users will see major changes in the Ad Preference Setting Page, especially in the section of ‘Advertisers you’ve interacted with’. A user can see which advertiser’s list they are on and even delete the advertiser from the ‘Advertisers you’ve interacted with’ page.
After the Cambridge Analytica controversy, the social network is trying hard to rectify the misuse of leaked user data and to avoid a similar fiasco. In the previous week, Facebook came down on its ‘Partner Categories’ service to advertisers stating that third party data providers (who offer their targeting directly on Facebook) have the potential to harm people’s privacy online.
While the tool is still in development, it is clear that Facebook is making the safeguarding of private data a top priority. At this point, the main bone of contention is whether advertisers who are bent on making profits will somehow slip through certification with their data collection methods. It is up to Facebook to disallow this type of illicit behaviour and strictly start monitoring all kinds of activities on its pages.