Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg

User Privacy: Facebook tightens checks, cuts targeted ads companies

Following the current row involving Facebook and invasion of users’ privacy, Facebook Inc said on Wednesday it would end its partnerships with several large data brokers who help advertisers target people on the social network.

This step will help check how the social media giant handles personal information.

Reuters said the world’s largest social media company is under pressure to improve its handling of data after disclosing that information about 50 million Facebook users wrongly ended up in the hands of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

Cambridge Analytica has used data obtained from the site to influence elections in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa among other African countries.

Facebook adjusted the privacy settings on its service on Wednesday, giving users control over their personal information in fewer taps.

“The firm has for years given advertisers the option of targeting their ads based on data collected by companies such as Acxiom Corp and Experian PLC”, said Reuters.

The tool has been widely used among certain categories of advertisers – such as automakers, luxury goods producers and consumer packaged goods companies – who do not sell directly to consumers and have relatively little information about who their customers are, the social media company said.

“While this is common industry practice, we believe this step, winding down over the next six months, will help improve people’s privacy on the social media platform,” Graham Mudd, product marketing director, said in a statement.

Shares in Acxiom traded down more than 10 percent to $25 after Facebook’s announcement after the bell. Shares in other data brokers were largely unchanged.

Acxiom said late on Wednesday it did not expect this change to impact its revenue or earnings for the year ending in March. The company currently expects revenue in the range of $910 million to $915 million in the 2018 fiscal year.  

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