The social network has over 600 million daily users who regularly post details about their lives and personal interests, but that’s not enough information for Facebook.
The Boston Globe reports that Facebook is starting to buy data from more data brokers – companies that create massive databases of personal information by combining records from retailers and online tracking cookies.
They want to use it to tailor more specific ads to users, so they’ll go from just using data from Datalogix to using data from three others: Acxiom, Epsilon, and BlueKai.
In “How to Stop Companies From Collecting and Selling Your Facebook Info,” we mentioned that Congress was investigating how companies like Acxiom collect and sell information. Here’s how Facebook says they plan to use it:
Facebook is not interested in pinpointing individual users, but rather in trying to identify groups of consumers with shared tastes and interests. Combining Facebook data with shopping records from Epsilon, for instance, might identify fortysomething males who buy cholesterol medications and Lee Child thrillers. With that, Facebook can present ads for pharmaceuticals and crime novels to just the right group of users, instead of also broadcasting them to teenagers with a taste for the Twilight books.
In other words, they just want to make more money – sort of like how they started charging for some private messages and are now planning to charge as much as $15 to message celebrities.
If you don’t like the way your info is being collected and used to make money, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has step-by-step instructions on how to “opt-out” of various collections.