Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data scandal has another casualty: the “likely to move” ad targeting category. The popular ad targeting feature will stop working for new campaigns Aug. 15 as part of Facebook’s re-evaluation of how it uses third-party data.
Facebook came under scrutiny for allowing third parties access to user data after the company Cambridge Analytica used that user data on behalf of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg appeared before Congress in April to answer questions about how Cambridge Analytica was able to access the data of 87 million users, including millions of users who never interacted with the company’s Facebook app.
“Likely to move” is one of the ad targeting options found under “partner categories,” online advertising informed by data from third parties, or “partners.” Facebook ads glean information from companies such as Acxiom and Experian to create ads targeted around purchasing habits and predicted future purchases.
The entire partner categories program is being phased out with its total sunset scheduled for Oct. 1. Without those outside companies authorized under the partner category program, Facebook won’t have those same advertising options. Facebook first announced it would shut down partner categories in March. Facebook didn’t respond to request for comment from Inman about the end of “likely to move.”
“We want to let advertisers know that we will be shutting down Partner Categories. This product enables third-party data providers to offer their targeting directly on Facebook,” Facebook said at the time. “While this is common industry practice, we believe this step, winding down over the next six months, will help improve people’s privacy on Facebook.”
“Likely to move” is just one of the Facebook ad categories that will be affected. Other categories that depend on outside vendor knowledge of “offline behaviors” like home and car ownership will also be cut.
Real estate agents who run campaigns that include the “likely to move” category have started getting notifications that their selected audience won’t be available soon.
Other similar ad targeting options don’t depend on Facebook’s partner categories. Life markers that can signal an interest in buying a home — getting married, having a child — are still available as advertising targets.
In a post about the end of “likely to move,” Coldwell Banker director of media Lindsay Listanski recommended that agents use the ad target “house-hunting,” which reaches a smaller audience than “likely to move” did but is still available. Listanski also suggested creating “custom audiences” for agents who already know who they’re hoping to reach.
Outside of its Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook’s ad targeting has also come under scrutiny for providing the ability for companies to engage in housing discrimination.
Advertisers, ProPublica found, can effectively exclude African-Americans, Spanish-language speakers or families with young children when they place advertisements for housing rentals.