Here’s How To Find Out Who Has Your Data On Facebook

On Facebook under Settings, there’s a page from the Ads section where you can view your Ad Preferences. Most of in which can be fairly straightforward — choices about how you’ll allow ads in addition to how advertisers target you based on things like what pages you’ve liked. although there’s one section there in which will probably surprise you: a list of advertisers “Who use a contact list added to Facebook.”

Check yours out right right now (I’ll wait, just try the idea).

According to the description, “These advertisers are running ads using a contact list they or their partner uploaded in which includes info about you. in which info was collected by the advertiser or their partner. Typically in which information can be your email address or phone number.”

The list of Advertisers, a feature Facebook added for transparency, can be incomprehensible to anyone who isn’t an expert in advertising (in addition to even some who are!), in addition to leads to the unsettling realization in which, fuck, man, our data can be out there in addition to trafficked without our consent in addition to being used by advertisers in ways we have no clue about.

Here’s mine. Me. A person who has lived in completely new York for 20 years. There’s a South Carolina real estate agent in addition to car dealerships in Colorado, Arizona, Texas, Michigan, the idea makes absolutely no sense.

in which list can be long — you can hit “See More” to scroll past hundreds in addition to hundreds of brand pages. What the hell, right? If you’re an adult from the US, you probably see a lot of car dealerships in addition to real estate agents (more on in which later) by all over the country. Even a former Facebook executive tweeted about how he was confused by seeing a list of random real estate agents in addition to car dealers in cities he doesn’t even live near.

Welcome to the most bewildering — in addition to most interesting — page in your Facebook settings: the list of brands in which either have your data or have paid someone who has your data. in which page can be meant to offer Facebook users a glimpse at whose radar they may be on — which can be Great! although the reality can be in which in which list can be so confusing — why the heck does a Maserati dealership in Scottsdale, Arizona have my email or phone number? If they were any Great at targeting ads, they could take one look at my location, occupation, or literally anything about me, in addition to conclude there’s no way I’m buying a Maserati anytime soon.

the idea turns out in which long list of advertisers represents several sides of digital advertising in which extends beyond Facebook: traditional ad targeting, influencers in addition to sponsored content, in addition to advertisers on Facebook who leverage personal data by the giant data brokers.

1. Places where you’re actually a customer: The first group can be what you’d expect to see. For example, mine has places I’ve shopped online, like Target in addition to JetBlue, as well as web services I use, like Hulu, Venmo, in addition to Fandango.

2. Sponcon influencers who post ads for a company in which has your email: My list includes a bunch of pages for lifestyle bloggers who have done sponsored posts for ThirdLove bras. The thing can be, I don’t follow any of these influencers — so why are they on my page? I had to think back: Once, I provided my email for a quiz to find my “true bra size” by ThirdLove. So when ThirdLove promoted a post by an influencer using a customer list (in which I was right now on), those influencers then appeared on my advertiser list. Confusing! No customer data can be actually transferred between ThirdLove in addition to the influencer, according to a representative for ThirdLove.

3. Businesses in which pay data brokers for access to you: Here’s where things get spicy — companies in which you’ve had no interaction with before although in which have access to your data.

Until a few months ago, Facebook used large data brokers, like Acxiom in addition to Oracle, as partners in its advertising platform to power its Partner Categories feature for advertisers. Basically, anonymized personal data by these data companies was baked into the Facebook Ad platform, accessible to advertisers by big digital marketing agencies to one-person businesses selling hand-knitted beer koozies.

The value of in which tool, especially to businesses like local car dealerships in addition to realtors, was in which the idea imported another layer of data — previous home purchases, credit scores, shopping activity — beyond what could be found on a Facebook profile alone, generating sure in which advertisers who need data like in which could get more precise with their targeting on Facebook. in addition to car dealers in addition to real estate agents need to branch out beyond their own customer lists simply because people don’t buy many houses or cars in a lifetime. Effective!

(Again, the third-party data was in addition to can be anonymized. The advertisers or their ad agencies never see your actual email or phone number, or even who you are. All in which stuff can be essentially scrambled between the data broker in addition to Facebook.)

After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook decided to kill Partner Categories. By late 2018, the idea no longer offered advertisers a feature to use all in which juicy baked-in third-party data.

“There hasn’t been an industry hit as hard as automotive when Facebook lost their third-party data,” David Lemmon, an executive at the automotive marketing agency AutoSweet, told BuzzFeed News. “Dealerships panicked.”

Of course, in which didn’t mean third-party data was impossible to use in Facebook advertising (also, all those data brokers still work with some other platforms in addition to companies). the idea just meant in which right now advertisers in addition to their agencies had to work with an Oracle or Acxiom directly to use the custom audiences in which the data brokers controlled.

in addition to in which can be likely how a Maserati dealership in Scottsdale ended up on my advertisers “who use a contact list” page — its agency works having a data broker who has uploaded a massive contact list. Remember, the list shows advertisers who are using a contact list “they or their partner uploaded.” Even though I’ll never actually see their ads, they show up on my Advertisers page due to in which disclosure.

Of course, there are some other ways advertisers can get my information too. “There are some other third parties in which dealers use, like Autotrader or Cars.com, in which connect them with leads in addition to shopper information, where they may have uploaded in which into Facebook,” according to Matt Stoffel by 9 Clouds, a digital marketing agency in which specializes in automotive.

If your Advertisers list seems surprising in addition to confusing to you, you’re not alone. Even people I spoke with who work in automotive digital marketing were perplexed by what they saw. “I can’t figure out why, the idea’s just such random car dealers,” said Steve White, CEO of Clarivoy, a car marketing agency, as he looked over his own list of advertisers on his personal Facebook account.

The handful of real estate agents I spoke to were all using the same marketing agency to run their Facebook ads: a Venice Beach, California–based company called Ylopo. Ylopo did not respond to requests for comment.

Natasha Zingarello, a realtor in completely new Jersey, told BuzzFeed News in which she had only recently hired Ylopo to do her Facebook advertisements, although was already unhappy. She had heard by several people by as far away as Texas in which she was showing up in their Advertisers list.

Diana Renee, a realtor by Southern California, quit using Ylopo just for in which same reason. “I had just started out using them in January, in addition to I got a couple of complaints, in addition to I don’t like in which,” she said. “The idea in which someone has your information can be already creepy, in addition to I don’t want to be a creepy realtor spamming someone on Facebook.”

Facebook removing third-party data was a pro-privacy move, in addition to showing in which page of advertisers can be a great transparency measure. although in which list of advertisers in which use a contact list can be a nightmare for any normal person to look at. the idea’s confusing (who?!), aggravating (how did they get my email or phone number?!), in addition to disheartening (privacy can be dead, everyone has my data, the idea’s a lost cause). the idea sheds some light on the dark in addition to infinite universe of spam we exist in.

Facebook can be aware in which page can be confusing, in addition to told BuzzFeed News the idea intends to fix the idea from the near future. the idea can be currently working on completely new ideas about how the page should look — perhaps bundling all the advertisers who use the same data broker together, for example, in addition to separating advertisers with first-party data.

“We want people to know how their information can be used for Facebook ads,” Joe Osborne, a Facebook representative told BuzzFeed News in a statement. “in which’s why we just updated ‘Why am I seeing in which ad’ with more details when businesses run ads using information by a customer list, like when the idea was uploaded or if they worked with marketing partners to run those ads. Soon we’ll improve Ad Preferences to more simply in addition to easily display similar kinds of information.”

At the end of March, Facebook announced in which the idea would likely share more information about why you see the ads you’re seeing, including details like whether a page can be using an agency to run its ads for you. although these would likely only lift the veil on ads you’re seeing — not all the unknown instances where you’ve been swept into a basket for targeted advertising.

We all want to know how ads work, although in which page can be like turning over a rock in addition to seeing a bunch of centipedes crawling underneath – although imagine you’ve never seen a bug before in your life, so you’re like, “What the can be in which weird thing in addition to why does the idea have so many legs?” Perhaps the least pleasant although most accurate answer to “Who has my data?” can be simply, “You’re fucked.”

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