So Facebook and its targeting/business practices have been Kind of a Big Deal lately.
But let’s clear the air: Facebook is not selling your data. We repeat, Facebook is not selling your data.
Yes, Facebook (in part) created this misunderstanding with the recent Cambridge Analytica breach, but advertisers and agencies don’t get actual information about Facebook’s users. Facebook simply allows marketers to serve ads to a group of people targeted based on specific indicators and/or parameters.
When someone advertises on Facebook, they have no idea of who they’re actually targeting—advertisers can target specific demographics based on age, gender, location, job and relationship status, but it’s not possible to target specific individuals.
Speaking of individual data: Since Facebook updated its data policy for the first time since 2016, you might want to peep the highlight reel the fine folks over at the Wall Street Journal put together. (Warning: The short version is still pretty lengthy.)
TL;DR? Facebook’s ad buying platform works the same way traditional media has historically been purchased. (Google and other digital platforms use the same techniques and tactics.) The big difference is that users not only spend a ton of time on Facebook, they voluntarily provide info to it, making its targeting capabilities way more advanced.
That means it’s still a powerful marketing tactic—and savvy advertisers know it.
P.S. Still trying to keep current on what’s happening on the ‘book? Read our brief on the most recent algorithm change.