Facebook (fb) is expanding its ad-targeting capabilities by building in users' data from outside websites and apps, raising further concerns over privacy on the social network.
While the company has long used user information such as comments and posts to target advertisements, it will now build out user profiles with information garnered from outside websites and mobile apps, the company said Thursday.
More information means better-targeted ads, which could translate into more ad dollars as the company looks to ramp up advertising revenues to compete with digital rivals like Google.
Facebook provided the example of a user shopping for a television. He or she may research TVs on websites and certain mobile apps, then, when logged onto the social site, would see advertisements for deals to either help get a better price or consider other brands.
Facebook has had access to a lot of this information for some time through plug-ins that integrate Facebook features on apps and third-party websites and other ad performance-tracking tools. The decision to utilize this data is a new step for the company.
As concerns over privacy concerns grow Facebook is walking a fine line, leading the company to launch tools that increase advertising transparency alongside the expanded tracking.
Facebook added an ad preferences function, accessible through every ad on the site, that explains why you're seeing a specific ad and lets you add or remove interest that the site uses to target promotions, the company said.
A link to the Digital Advertising Alliance opt out website will also be provided. Users can sign up there to stop the targeting all together on browsers. For mobile, Facebook points users to the controls that iOS and Android provide to prevent tracking on smart phones.
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