Facebook Cuts Third Party Data Access for Targeting Ads

Facebook will no longer collect offline advertising data from third-party research companies and is disabling its advertising data collection method called “Partner Categories”.

The social media giant is losing both market value and consumer trust. In a bid to make their platform stricter, Facebook went ahead with this change to prevent data misuse and any future data breach scandals similar to the Cambridge Analytica case by blocking any potential ways for third-parties to exploit their lax APIs.

Moreover, Facebook has temporarily paused external application approvals and is also closely monitoring the data which third-party developers are able to access.


Compromised Facebook Accounts “Way Higher” Than 50 Million: Chris Wylie

Why Partner Categories?

It should be noted that Cambridge Analytica did not gain access to 50 million profiles using Facebook’s Partner Categories, rather, a third-party app based on Facebook’s platform was used – this data was sold to Cambridge Analytica. In a short newsroom post, Facebook announced,

We want to let advertisers know that we will be shutting down Partner Categories. This product enables third party data providers to offer their targeting directly on Facebook. 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.

This feature was introduced around 5 years ago and allowed companies to use their own data, gathered from their own sources such as email address subscriptions and information purchased from data research companies, to target audiences on the Facebook platform.