Researchers demonstrated Facebook’s ad tools can aid in targeting an individual user

A recent research paper by a group of academics and computer scientists from Spain and Austria has revealed that Facebook Ads can be used to to target just a single person, only if one is adequately aware of the interests that the forum ballots to its users.

They prove that they were successive to employ Facebook’s ads manager tool to promote several ads in a manner that, those specific ads reach a particular person (and ideally no one else).

Now, this discovery has evoked some new concerns regarding the detrimental usages of the company's ad targeting tools.

Besides, more extensively, problems regarding the legitimacy of this technical giant’s private data processing empire lent the data it acquires could be utilized to specify the people, tracking down them specifically via its forum, despite intentionally, founded for their interests.

These disclosures can pressure lawmakers to take steps against programmatic advertising, this issue has been under debate since the beginning. And now the introduction of such targeting tools will make it more uncertain to submit private info on such public platforms.

Additionally, the discoveries also emphasize the significance of self-sufficient research being assess and observe by the related authorities, algorithmic ad tech.

The research paper infers the primary clues of the probability of systematically exploiting Facebook's advertising forum to enforce nano targeting, established on non-PII data.

Timely, there have been numerous questions have been raised over Facebook’s ad strategy being a route for manipulation and exploitation of users' privacy rights.

The U. K incident, which took place 5 years back has also been referred to in the research paper when an election campaign leader tried Facebook’s ad-targeting equipment to pull the wool over a former leader.

The researchers affirmed that they have conducted a test with twenty-one ad campaigns which targeted 3 researchers among them to demonstrate incase an advertiser is aware enough of interests from a user, then Facebook advertising forum could be manipulated to deliver those advertisements wholly to the targeted account.

Interestingly, the team acknowledged that the data they obtained from two thousand three hundred and ninety Facebook user accounts through a browser extension they formed, which the users have downloaded at the very beginning of 2017.

This extension was named as the Data valuation tool for Facebook users, which analyzed every single account's ad priorities and interest tendencies to assemble, for which it was meant.

Moreover, delivering the evaluation rate regarding the income they induce for the advertisements they receive while surveying the forum.
As a result, they concluded that "if an attacker knows 18+ random interests from a user, they will be able to nano target them with a very high probability. In particular, 8 out of the 9 ad campaigns that used 18+ interests in our experiment successfully nano targeted the chosen user”.

They further said nano targeting is exceptionally inexpensive. Based on their analysis 2/3 of the nano-targeted ads are anticipated to get transmitted to the intended user approximately in seven hours.

Apart from this different study has also frequently implied that there is a chance re-identification of people, sometimes it is just a few of elements of non-PII.

However, in response to the study, a company's representative denied the findings in the research paper, arguing that it is false about the company's advertisement system functions.

They penned, "This research is wrong about how our ad system works. The list of ads targeting interests we associate with a person is not accessible to advertisers unless that person chooses to share them. Without that information or specific details that identify the person who saw an ad, the researchers’ method would be useless to an advertiser attempting to break our rules".

Dr. Lukasz Olejnik, a self-reliant privacy researcher and consultant named the revelations "staggering" interpreting the manuscript as among the leading ten most important privacy research results of this decade.

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