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Good Questions, Real Answers: Data-Handling and Privacy

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First: why is data so important? Ads play an important role in our mission to connect the world. They allow our platform to be free for people to use, and help grow businesses everywhere. It’s our principle that ads are built for people first, so we aim to make them as relevant as posts people see from their friends and family. When our platform delivers ads that are relevant to people, they have a more positive experience, and you benefit because people are more likely to engage with your ads. A 2018 survey by OpenX and The Harris Poll found about 3 out of 5 US internet users said they were more likely to care about a personalized ad.1 Data helps advertisers deliver these more personalized ads, and in turn, advertisers see extended ad reach, optimization, and measurement.

Does my data benefit other advertisers?

The short answer is that your company receives significantly more value from your data than other advertisers. Here’s why:

  • Data from individual advertisers represents a small portion of the data on our platform.

    So while your data (and data from other advertisers) technically improves our ad delivery model for all advertisers, it benefits your goals significantly more than anyone else.

  • Our ads system favors your own customer interactions.

    It’s the goal of our ads system to deliver your ads to people that are most likely to engage with your business. One of the strongest indicators of whether or not someone will take your desired action comes from the information you share about your own customer interactions, not data from other advertisers. That’s why we prioritize your information, and encourage you to share it whenever available.

  • Competitors can’t directly target your customers.

    Our platforms use available data to determine people’s intent and what’s relevant to them, and we require multiple sources of intent for someone to be eligible to see prospecting ads. If someone makes a purchase on your website, other advertisers won’t be able to target them solely on the basis of that purchase. For retargeted ads, individual advertisers’ Custom Audiences are only accessible to you, unless you decide to share access to that audience. All information used by our optimization system is aggregated with millions of other customer interactions and activity.

Does Facebook use my customer interactions to promote their own products?

We don’t use your data to directly target your customers when promoting our own products and services, much like we don’t allow your competitors to.

How do you keep any personal information my company passes to Facebook safe?

Facebook’s business tools use a technique called hashing to help secure client data before it’s sent to Facebook. Hashing creates a nonreversible code for a piece of text, and our hashing algorithm is one that’s often used in industries that handle sensitive data, like online banking. Before any customer data identifiers you send through the pixel are transmitted to Facebook, they are ‘hashed’ locally on the customer’s computer systems. Facebook only receives the hashed value. Our platform uses the hashed client data to help match pixel events to FB users, and it’s deleted after the matching process is complete.

As people’s expectations evolve, so will our products. What won’t change is our belief that what’s good for people is good for business. Privacy will continue to be at the core of our innovation, helping us ensure Facebook is a positive place for everyone. If you want to learn more about our data privacy policies, tools and how they apply to your business, visit the Privacy and Data-Use Hub.

The Latest News from Facebook for Business

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Updating Special Ad Audiences for housing, employment, and credit advertisers

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On June 21, 2022 we announced an important settlement with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that will change the way we deliver housing ads to people residing in the US. Specifically, we are building into our ads system a method designed to make sure the audience that ends up seeing a housing ad more closely reflects the eligible targeted audience for that ad.

As part of this agreement, we will also be sunsetting Special Ad Audiences, a tool that lets advertisers expand their audiences for ad sets related to housing. We are choosing to sunset this for employment and credit ads as well. In 2019, in addition to eliminating certain targeting options for housing, employment and credit ads, we introduced Special Ad Audiences as an alternative to Lookalike Audiences. But the field of fairness in machine learning is a dynamic and evolving one, and Special Ad Audiences was an early way to address concerns. Now, our focus will move to new approaches to improve fairness, including the method previously announced.

What’s happening: We’re removing the ability to create Special Ad Audiences via Ads Manager beginning on August 25, 2022.

Beginning October 12th, 2022, we will pause any remaining ad sets that contain Special Ad Audiences. These ad sets may be restarted once advertisers have removed any and all Special Ad Audiences from those ad sets. We are providing a two month window between preventing new Special Ad Audiences and pausing existing Special Ad Audiences to enable advertisers the time to adjust budgets and strategies as needed.

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For more details, please visit our Newsroom post.

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Impact to Advertisers using Marketing API on September 13, 2022

For advertisers and partners using the API listed below, the blocking of new Special Ad Audience creation will present a breaking change on all versions. Beginning August 15, 2022, developers can start to implement the code changes, and will have until September 13, 2022, when the non-versioning change occurs and prior values are deprecated. Refer below to the list of impacted endpoints related to this deprecation:

For reading audience:

  • endpoint gr:get:AdAccount/customaudiences
  • field operation_status

For adset creation:

  • endpoint gr:post:AdAccount/adsets
  • field subtype

For adset editing:

  • endpoint gr:post:AdCampaign
  • field subtype

For custom audience creation:

  • endpoint gr:post:AdAccount/customaudiences
  • field subtype

For custom audience editing:

  • endpoint gr:post:CustomAudience

Please refer to the developer documentation for further details to support code implementation.

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Introducing an Update to the Data Protection Assessment

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Over the coming year, some apps with access to certain types of user data on our platforms will be required to complete the annual Data Protection Assessment. We have made a number of improvements to this process since our launch last year, when we introduced our first iteration of the assessment.

The updated Data Protection Assessment will include a new developer experience that is enhanced through streamlined communications, direct support, and clear status updates. Today, we’re sharing what you can expect from these new updates and how you can best prepare for completing this important privacy requirement if your app is within scope.

If your app is in scope for the Data Protection Assessment, and you’re an app admin, you’ll receive an email and a message in your app’s Alert Inbox when it’s time to complete the annual assessment. You and your team of experts will then have 60 calendar days to complete the assessment. We’ve built a new platform that enhances the user experience of completing the Data Protection Assessment. These updates to the platform are based on learnings over the past year from our partnership with the developer community. When completing the assessment, you can expect:

  • Streamlined communication: All communications and required actions will be through the My Apps page. You’ll be notified of pending communications requiring your response via your Alerts Inbox, email, and notifications in the My Apps page.

    Note: Other programs may still communicate with you through the App Contact Email.

  • Available support: Ability to engage with Meta teams via the Support tool to seek clarification on the questions within the Data Protection Assessment prior to submission and help with any requests for more info, or to resolve violations.

    Note: To access this feature, you will need to add the app and app admins to your Business Manager. Please refer to those links for step-by-step guides.

  • Clear status updates: Easy to understand status and timeline indicators throughout the process in the App Dashboard, App Settings, and My Apps page.
  • Straightforward reviewer follow-ups: Streamlined experience for any follow-ups from our reviewers, all via developers.facebook.com.

We’ve included a brief video that provides a walkthrough of the experience you’ll have with the Data Protection Assessment:

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The Data Protection Assessment elevates the importance of data security and helps gain the trust of the billions of people who use our products and services around the world. That’s why we are committed to providing a seamless experience for our partners as you complete this important privacy requirement.

Here is what you can do now to prepare for the assessment:

  1. Make sure you are reachable: Update your developer or business account contact email and notification settings.
  2. Review the questions in the Data Protection Assessment and engage with your teams on how best to answer these questions. You may have to enlist the help of your legal and information security points of contact to answer some parts of the assessment.
  3. Review Meta Platform Terms and our Developer Policies.

We know that when people choose to share their data, we’re able to work with the developer community to safely deliver rich and relevant experiences that create value for people and businesses. It’s a privilege we share when people grant us access to their data, and it’s imperative that we protect that data in order to maintain and build upon their trust. This is why the Data Protection Assessment focuses on data use, data sharing and data security.

Data privacy is challenging and complex, and we’re dedicated to continuously improving the processes to safeguard user privacy on our platform. Thank you for partnering with us as we continue to build a safer, more sustainable platform.

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Resources for Completing App Store Data Practice Questionnaires for Apps That Include the Facebook or Audience Network SDK

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Resources for Completing App Store Data Practice Questionnaires for Apps That Include the Facebook or Audience Network SDK

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