Facebook Is Adding More Privacy Controls, But Also Tracking Your Browsing More Closely

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
June 12 2014 2:47 PM

Facebook Is Adding More Privacy Controls, But Also Tracking Your Browsing More Closely

fbprivacy
Pick and choose the ads you want. But what if you just don't want any?

Photo from Facebook.

On Thursday Facebook announced that it will allow its users to see more detailed information about the data the company has collected on them. And these new privacy measures will also grant users the ability to edit that data. But the company is also expanding the way it tracks its users outside of the Facebook domain. It's a mixed privacy bag.

Over the next few weeks, Facebook will let you see the trove of likes and interests that Facebook has stored about you. You'll be able to change or delete things you don't actually like or don't want on there, and you'll even be able to indicate that you don't like certain ads Facebook is showing you or that they're not relevant to you (much like you can on Hulu). That's because this is all really about advertising. Facebook wants to make sure it knows exactly what you like and don't like so it can satisfy more users and therefore sell ad space at higher prices.

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At the same time, though, Ad Age reports that Facebook is going to start taking advantage of the "like" buttons that third party sites across the Web embed to promote content. Facebook will collect data about what sites you're on when you "like" something as a way of capturing your browsing habits and interests. All of this will again allow Facebook to show you more personalized ads. And the company won't face barriers to doing this since it ignores Do Not Track requests from browsers.

Having more granular control over your privacy and the data a company holds about you is always a good thing, but in this case new tracking techniques come with the privacy advances. Tit for tat?

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.