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Facebook to track users' web browsing data for better targeted ads

And will eye what apps you have downloaded
Thu Jun 12 2014, 14:09

SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook will soon begin keeping an eye its users web browsing habits in order to better target adverts.

Facebook announced on Thursday that it plans to make use of users' web browsing histories, along with apps they have downloaded, to allow for better personalised ads. The feature initially will be limited to US-based social networkers, and is expected to start rolling out in the next few weeks.

"Today, we learn about your interests primarily from the things you do on Facebook, such as Pages you like. Starting soon in the US, we will also include information from some of the websites and apps you use," Facebook said in a blog post on Thursday.

A Facebook spokesperson told The INQUIRER that all information shared is aggregated and de-ifentified, and was keen to point out that it is not sharing any new information. Before Thursday's announcement, Facebook could target users with ads based only on their activity on the social network.

In explaining it's latest move, Facebook said, "Let's say that you're thinking about buying a new TV, and you start researching TVs on the web and in mobile apps.

"We may show you ads for deals on a TV to help you get the best price or other brands to consider. And because we think you're interested in electronics, we may show you ads for other electronics in the future, like speakers or a game console to go with your new TV."

"Facebook is continuing on a campaign to push the data envelope, raising troubling privacy and consumer-protection concerns," said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy.

However, Facebook claims it consulted with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Ireland's Data Protection Commissioners about the change ahead of today's announcement, even though it "is not required to seek regulatory approval".

Facebook is allowing users to opt-out of this data sharing feature, but rather than just tick a box in your settings, you'll have to follow this link and select which companies you want to opt-out from.

Facebook said that it is also possible for members to opt out using its iOS and Android apps.

Today's announcement comes just week's after Facebook announced a feature that will allow it to access your microphone to identify songs you are listening to and what you are watching on the TV. µ


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