The last few weeks have brought a slew of changes to Facebook. In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook shut down its Partner Categories, halted bot and app approvals, is conducting forensic audits of existing Facebook partner apps, and has updated its consumer privacy settings.
In this article, we'll give you a quick overview of these changes and discuss how they affect you and your brand.
Facebook Shutters Partner Categories
The most major post-Cambridge Analytics change is Facebook's decision to shutter Partner Categories in its ad targeting features. This change was announced late last week, and Facebook announced that it will wind down the Partner Categories program over the next six months.
Facebook's short-and-sweet (and slightly terrifying to some) statement is below:
Partner Categories is a Facebook Ads feature that lets advertisers target ads based on data from third-party sources. In the United States, these sources include TransUnion, Epsilon, Experian, and others. This data made it possible to target ads to users based on their credit, make and model of their car, and more.
This move shows Facebook's newfound commitment to protect its user's privacy. The change will no doubt have negative effects on advertisers who rely on this data to target ads to particular groups of people, and will force the industry to evolve past third-party data.
Halting Messanger ChatBot and App Approvals
Facebook has also halted approvals of new apps and chatbots that run on the Facebook Messenger platform. The ban will remain until Facebook reviews and edits their privacy and security policies, though no firm date has been provided.
Facebook Messenger's blog also noted that it will conduct an internal review of apps that have had access to large amounts of user information, inform people of applications that are removed for misuse of data, and encourage users to manage existing apps they use. Further, it will expand Facebook's bug bounty program to cover third-party apps.
This is a significant loss for Messenger developers and companies that are developing Messenger apps. Developers will have to wait to launch apps not submitted before the ban. We're hopeful that this ban is shortlived so that brands can continue to develop new chatbots.
Easier to Find Privacy Tools
Facebook made its already existent privacy tools easier to find and use. The above photo shows the difference between the old and new Settings pages, wherein the new page highlights security and privacy settings. This change does not affect brands.
Expect More Changes
From a consumer standpoint, it's good to see Facebook make changes that protect customer data. We expect the company to roll out more changes over the coming months to ease concern and improve the company's image. These changes may hurt brands in the short term, but Facebook making said changes will ensure the longevity of the network and your user engagement.