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    Financial Times: Facebook raises fears with ad tracking

    The Financial Times reports that social-networking site Facebook is making new moves in offline tracking of its users, which raises privacy questions. (NOTE: The article talks about an opt-out link from Datalogix but doesn’t give the link. It’s here:

    Facebook is working with a controversial data company called Datalogix that can track whether people who see ads on the social networking site end up buying those products in stores.

    Amid growing pressure for the social networking site to prove the value of its advertising, Facebook is gradually wading into new techniques for tracking and using data about users that raise concerns among privacy advocates. […]

    Datalogix has purchasing data from about 70m American households largely drawn from loyalty cards and programmes at more than 1,000 retailers, including grocers and drug stores. By matching email addresses or other identifying information associated with those cards against emails or information used to establish Facebook accounts, Datalogix can track whether people bought a product in a store after seeing an ad on Facebook.

    The emails and other identifying information are made anonymous and collected into groups of people who saw an ad and people who did not. Datalogix compiles a report for Facebook and its advertisers to measure which creative approaches and demographic targeting persuade people to buy specific products offline.

    Facebook said it is paying Datalogix for the data-matching. […]

    Some privacy advocates question whether the practice violates the $9.5m settlement Facebook struck with the US Federal Trade Commission over charges that it deceived consumers by not keeping privacy promises.

    Facebook users are automatically included in the advertising studies conducted with Datalogix, and cannot directly opt out through their Facebook account. Instead, they must go to the Datalogix website, for which Facebook has a link posted in its help centre.

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