Facebook is tightening its rules around the use of raw, device-level data used for measuring ad campaigns that Facebook shares with an elite group of advertising technology partners.
As first spotted by AdAge, the company recently tweaked the terms of service that apply to its “advanced mobile measurement partner” program, which advertisers tap into to track the performance of their ads on Facebook. Those mobile measurement partners (MMPs) were, until now, free to share the raw data they accessed from Facebook with advertisers. These metrics drilled down to the individual device level, which advertisers could then reportedly connect to any device IDs they might already have on tap.
Facebook reportedly began notifying affected partners on February 5 and all advertising partners must agree to the updated terms of the program before April 22, according to Tencent.
While Facebook didn’t deliver the device IDs themselves, passing granular insights like the way a given consumer shops or browses the web—and then giving an advertiser free rein to link that data to, well, just about anyone—smacks hard of something that could easily turn Cambridge Analytica-y if the wrong actors got their hands on the data. As AdAge put it:
The program had safeguards that bound advertisers to act responsibly, but there were always concerns that advertisers could misuse the data, according to people familiar with the program. Facebook says that it did not uncover any wrongdoing on the part of advertisers when it decided to update the measurement program. However, the program under its older configuration came with clear risks, according to marketing partners.