Facebook COO Tries to Make the Case for Personalized Ads

Facebook as a company is not exactly viewed entirely positively these days, and a major contributor to this has to do with how the company has tracked its users and mined their data for the purposes of allowing advertising agencies to create targeted ads for said users. This is something that has been discussed at length, but it still comes up quite often. It has been discussed even more frequently with the fallout that has come from Apple’s announcement that it will start to allow users to opt out of tracking from ads by default.

The social media platform has been working hard to try and make this seem like a bad thing, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg recently, at IAB meeting, tried to make the case for why this might happen to be true. In a wider conversation that involved discussions about Facebook’s policies on hate speech, Sandberg attempted to defend Facebook’s targeted ads by suggesting that this is the sort of thing that users actually want whether or not they truly realize it. These ads are supposed to give users the chance to connect with brands that are making products that they would deeply care about and enjoy using.

The basic premise here is that both brands that are trying to sell products as well as users that would really like these products are benefiting from this arrangement in a really huge way. Sandberg also said that Facebook’s use of data is not a privacy issue, since this data is never really shared with third parties and the like. With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that she tried rather hard to cover up the sheer quantity of data that Facebook ends up collecting, which is the sort of thing that has been the main focus of people’s complaints against the platform.

For what it’s worth, Facebook has most definitely been agreeable about more regulations being put into place in order to make it so that users do not have to worry about how much data of theirs is being used. The company has put in place its own options that allow users to opt out of personalized ads, though the company has also been mum about how many users are actually choosing this option since the number is probably rather high.

All in all, this is an interesting conversation that will most likely continue well into the future. Major companies are vying for control over user data, and whether or not they are able to due to the interference of other enterprises or government regulation remains to be seen.

Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

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