Dive Brief:

Face­book is work­ing on a new Cus­tom Audi­ences cer­ti­fi­ca­tion tool that will require mar­keters to guar­an­tee that the email address­es they use for ad tar­get­ing were obtained legit­i­mate­ly with user con­sent, Face­book rep­re­sen­ta­tives con­firmed in a TechCrunch report.
Face­book will also stop Cus­tom Audi­ence data from being shared across Face­book Busi­ness accounts.
Cus­tom Audi­ences launched in 2012 as a way for com­pa­nies to upload lists of cus­tomer email address­es or phone num­bers so adver­tis­ers could tar­get spe­cif­ic peo­ple instead of broad groups. The tool’s terms of ser­vice required com­pa­nies to noti­fy users and get con­sent to col­lect and use their con­tact infor­ma­tion.

Dive Insight:

Face­book is tak­ing an addi­tion­al step to safe­guard and pre­vent mis­use of user infor­ma­tion, after fac­ing con­sid­er­able back­lash fol­low­ing the Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca scan­dal. Tak­en togeth­er, a series of steps over the past cou­ple of weeks will make adver­tis­ing on Face­book poten­tial­ly more cum­ber­some and less effi­cient for mar­keters. Whether this will be enough to cause some brands to leave the plat­form, which still offers sig­nif­i­cant reach, remains to be seen.

The added cer­ti­fi­ca­tion tool in Cus­tom Audi­ences, a pop­u­lar pro­gram that enables busi­ness­es to tar­get con­sumers they have emails for with ads on Face­book, means that Face­book is now enforc­ing poli­cies that it already had in place. Cus­tom Audi­ences has required that mar­keters get per­mis­sion to col­lect and share user con­tact infor­ma­tion, but the plat­form didn’t always enforce the poli­cies, leav­ing the process open to abuse. Mar­keters saw ben­e­fits to bend­ing or break­ing the rules to tar­get ads and few con­se­quences, accord­ing to TechCrunch. In a sim­i­lar vein, there were poli­cies for app devel­op­ers to not sell, share or mis­use data col­lect­ed from Face­book users, but lack of enforce­ment ulti­mate­ly led to the Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca dis­as­ter.

Late last week, Face­book said it will shut down its Part­ner Cat­e­gories pro­gram that lets mar­keters tar­get ads based on third-par­ty data. The move will impact part­ners, includ­ing Epsilon, Ora­cle, WPP and Acx­iom. As con­sumers are demand­ing more per­son­al­iza­tion from mar­keters, Facebook’s recent moves could have a big impact on mar­keters’ abil­i­ty to deliv­er. It could also affect how brands allo­cate their dig­i­tal ad bud­gets, a large por­tion of which now goes to Face­book.

To address users’ grow­ing con­cerns over the secu­ri­ty of their per­son­al infor­ma­tion, Face­book has also updat­ed its pri­va­cy and trans­paren­cy tools, includ­ing improved set­tings lay­out, pri­va­cy short­cuts and the abil­i­ty for users to down­load all of their Face­book data, to give them more direct con­trol over the infor­ma­tion they put on the plat­form and how it’s used. In a recent sur­vey by secu­ri­ties firm Ray­mond James, near­ly 20% of Face­book users said they would be using the plat­form “sig­nif­i­cant­ly less” because of the Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca scan­dal, and 43% said they were “very con­cerned” about the data breach.