Facebook has suffered a number of self-inflicted wounds over the past year. So much so that my students joke that they must have a calendar full of bad decisions and we’re just waiting to see which one they decide to roll out each month. Impressively, Facebook recently announced that as of the end of February, users will be able to see how their information is used for ad targeting. They are referring to the update as Custom Audience Transparency. Once launched, users will be able to click on the top right corner of a Facebook ad and see which business uploaded that user’s information and highlight audience sharing that might have taken place. This article from Wired covers the new update in detail. According to Facebook, this update should help improve transparency for themselves and their advertisers.
What do your students think? In my experience, students are relatively unconcerned about privacy and marketing students understand it is being used to help target ads that might be more relevant to their audience. However, targeting was also used to help influence voters in advance of multiple US elections. Is that still okay? What about business implications? How will Facebook’s financials be affected by the change?