Facebook has had a rough go of things recently, but the company’s executives keep saying change is coming.
This may be one of the ways that happens. TechCrunch has a report on Wednesday that briefly details a plan on Facebook’s end that will show, a bit more in-depth, how personal information is used on the platform. Specifically, how that information is used for targeted advertisements.
A bit of background: Back in March of last year, Facebook made it so that companies needed consent to upload information, like an email address or phone number, in an effort to rollout targeted advertisements. That plan began rolling out in June, but there was a lot of wiggle room there. There was not any kind of verification process in place, which meant Facebook was taking companies at their word.
Finally, in November, Facebook added the ability for marketing and ad agencies to specify who they were buying promotions “on behalf of”. It’s that information that will soon become personally available to Facebook users if they want to see it.
The information will be made available beginning February 28. On that date, clicking on the “Why am I seeing this?” in the drop-down menu will showcase several new bits of information for the user. That will include biographical details that were targeted for the ad, the brand itself that paid for the ad, and whether or not your personal contact information was uploaded.
“Facebook will start to show when your contact info was uploaded, if it was by the brand or one of their agency/developer partners, and when access was shared between partners. A Facebook spokesperson tells me the goal to keep giving people a better understanding of how advertisers use their information.”
Facebook is trying to be a bit more transparent here, even if the information is still a bit hidden and out of the way. This should help both the end user and Facebook adjust accordingly to companies that are tracking individuals. On the user’s part, it could make them change their behavior if they want to try and remain a bit more private. On Facebook’s end, it could make it easier to see which companies are taking advantage of the system in place and enact consequences for those that are uploading information that they obtained illegitimately.
Transparency isn’t a bad thing, especially for a company like Facebook. It’s good that the information is obtainable at all, even if it is still a bit harder than it should be to read. Also good that the change is coming sooner rather than later, even if the building blocks have been in place for several months now.