Facebook to shut down third-party ad targeting tool

Mark Zuckerberg-led Facebook is conducting a broad review of all its data practices and taking a much more conservative stance on some policies

The social network said Wednesday that it will no longer allow these third-party data providers to offer their customers the ability to target their ads at Facebook users. With Facebook planning to release a smart home device that uses the same facial recognition technology, it raises new concerns on how the company manages users' data.

Facebook has announced a number of privacy changes to its platform in recent days following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, but the social network would have likely had to make the fixes anyway because of new upcoming legislation.

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Facebook has overhauled menus and introduced various new features to its platform in the aftermath of the scandal, in an effort to promote privacy and regain public trust. The advertisers on Facebook themselves have their own compilation of user information. But no more. The company is phasing out the tool, amid the growing backlash over the social media giant's privacy practices. The company is also making it easier to download the data you've shared on Facebook. The experience is now clearer, more visual, and easy-to-find.

But what many users didn't realize was that when they agreed to merge their contact list, it also allowed the app to collect call logs and text messages.

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For the unversed, Cambridge Analytica, the political data firm with ties to United States President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign, is under fire for allegedly gaining access to private information of more than 50 million Facebook users, and influencing elections by using this stolen data. Speaking to media on Thursday, Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "We are very tough when it comes to data protection in India". Instead, not all data was deleted, Facebook acknowledged in a 17 March blog post. Earlier this year, Facebook made a change to its newsfeed to prioritize content posted by family and friends, and said it would show fewer links to articles and other types of content. Adding to this, Facebook accumulates information from its 2 billion+ and growing user profiles based on their interests, likes and other activities. One can also delete anything from their profile or their timeline. That is something Facebook said it is making easier. When you take one of those quizzes provided through a third-party app, the developer is able to access not only your data but the data of all of your friends as well.

Facebook has landed itself in some hot water over the misuse of its users' data.

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"I welcome Facebook's announcement that it will be shutting down its partner category service, using third party data to inform targeted advertising", said Elizabeth Denham, the British information commissioner. The company said an update to its privacy policy and terms of service will be coming soon, but would not give further details. The publication's editors called for the creation of a "Data Rights Board" that would enforce rules and regulations regarding the use of user data.

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