UPDATE (6/13 6:49 AM PST) A previous version of this story stated that Facebook would “give” advertisers users browsing history directly. This story has been updated to reflect new information that Facebook will use the data to match its partners’ ads with consumers who might be likely to click them. The story has been changed to better reflect this.
It’s no secret that Facebook collects user data, but up until now the company has said it only holds onto that data for security purposes. Now, the social network is planning to include user web-browsing data to further refine its targeted advertising.
The company announced its intention to use browsing histories for advertising purposes early Thursday, reports the Wall Street Journal. Before the change, the company only used Facebook users’ “likes,” posts on Facebook, and data from third-party marketing tech companies.
Privacy advocates are not happy.
Facebook says these new practices are totally in line with what other websites and social media companies already do. Not untrue; Google is chief among them. Still, Facebook says that users can choose whether they want their data mined for more targeted advertising or not. Don’t expect to opt-out without jumping through a few hoops, though. The company says you’ll have to go through the Digital Advertising Alliance, an ad industry self-regulatory group, for instructions on how to block the social network from sending you targeted ads.
Facebook will also add features like “Why am I seeing this?,” so users can better understand why they seeing certain ads, and “Advertising Preferences,” an opportunity for users to tweak their own advertising settings. Ultimately, users can decide whether they want targeted ads, but either way they’re going to be seeing ads.