What Businesses Need to Know About Facebook's Updated Ad Preferences & Privacy Settings

What Businesses Need to Know About Facebook's Updated Ad Preferences & Privacy Settings

Trapica Content Team

Industry News
5 min read
April 29, 2021

Recently, there have been concerns regarding the data collected by some of the largest companies around the globe. With brands like Facebook and Google now ever-present, experts have questioned the collection and retention of personal data. Thankfully, with attention brought to this area, these brands have been investing in privacy tools for all users. Today, we want to focus on Facebook and its Ad Preferences tool.

New Update for Ad Preferences

For many, Facebook’s privacy updates have been great…yet a little confusing. So, Facebook has brought another update to make things even easier for the average user. It not only provides users with options but explains how changes will affect our accounts and experience on the platform.

When the update was first announced, Rob Leathern from Facebook (Product Manager Director) said that transparency will remain the same. However, the platform wanted to make the whole feature easier to navigate. With this in mind, when you first tap into Ad Preferences, you’ll see three options running along the top:

  • Data - This first option is all about ad targeting and how the app gathers data for this purpose.
  • Advertisers - This section shows a list of ads the user has seen as well as details about specific advertisers.
  • Ad Topics - Users can see the topics that Facebook has selected for advertising purposes, or in other words, what they think the user is interested in. Users can actually choose to remove certain categories to make the experience more personal.

If you use Ad Preferences regularly, you’ve probably already noted that these settings have always been available. That’s true, but there’s an entirely new layout that makes the whole feature more accessible for beginners. We have more control over the individual elements that make up the ad preferences, and we can understand how changing these elements will impact our experience.

While looking through the new update, we also noticed improvements in the descriptions used across the whole platform. As noted by a Facebook representative, these changes allow people to tailor their experience without needing a complete understanding of the industry. According to Leathern, we can expect a rollout of these features in the coming months.

This is an important update for Facebook because it shows a willingness to listen to its users. In the reveal, Leathern noted how people were struggling to understand the different controls. With enhanced descriptions and labels, this is now addressed. To get started with Ad Preferences, click on Settings & Privacy, Settings, and then Ads.

More Control for Users

In 2020, Facebook has worked hard to make privacy settings more accessible for the average user; the Ad Preferences update is one of many changes in this year alone. Shortly after welcoming the new year, Facebook improved the detail showing how advertisers targeted users. By digging into third-party data tracking, as an example, users get a better understanding of the system and how they can manage accounts.

With these two updates alone, Facebook is making progress with privacy controls. For some industry experts, there’s still one very important feature missing: user alerts to check settings and adjust them, depending on preferences. With this guide, we’re hopefully boosting awareness that these features exist and that every Facebook user can access them.

For marketers and businesses, it’s more important than ever to provide high-quality ads because users can now access a list of every ad they see on the platform. If your ad isn’t relevant, doesn’t resonate, or doesn’t offer any real value, your name will be removed from their list in no time.

Other Facebook Updates for Privacy and Account Control

As mentioned, it has been a busy year for Facebook as it continually introduces new features and updates (even while battling the COVID-19 pandemic like the rest of us!). Here are some of our favorite additions that help with privacy and account control:

New Privacy Settings

In July, a Facebook update introduced some new privacy settings including an app lock feature. Essentially, users can now lock the Messenger app to prevent people from gaining access when using their phones. Let’s say that you lend your device to a friend, having the Messenger app locked means they won’t have access to it, even if the device itself is unlocked.

We think this is a great addition for the everyday user as well as for businesses. If you’re in control of business communications on a personal device, the last thing you want is for your child to send a random message accidentally. You leave them with a kid’s video on YouTube but come back to see them sending funny emojis to a prospective client.

If you want to unlock the app again, you’ll need to confirm your identity either through face recognition, Touch ID, or a similar security feature.

Additionally, we’re expecting improvements relating to who can and can’t contact us through the Messenger app. According to many sources, Facebook is currently working on new privacy measures in this regard. With these new controls, we can decide who can message and call as well as who can’t. While some messages go to your inbox, others go to a ‘requests’ folder, and others don’t reach you at all.

CCPA Compliance

Back in June, the hot topic was the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) because this allows consumers in California to control all personal information. In what was a landmark introduction for the industry, users in California can now learn who uses their information for marketing and who has their information in general. If necessary, users can refuse permission to use the information for marketing.

For all businesses, it’s vital to comply with the new regulations if you have Californian customers. Fortunately, Facebook has brought a new setting to market for businesses. After selecting ‘Limited Data Use’, businesses can have confidence that no data is collected illegally or used in a way that goes against the CCPA.

Just because Facebook has released this feature, it doesn’t automatically go live so please check your own settings and click the enable button! When enabled, you may experience a decrease in campaign performance as well as limited retargeting and tracking capabilities. This being said, it will protect a business and the consumer’s data in the right way.

Warning Prompts

In truth, everybody who uses Facebook Messenger knows that scamming is a problem that has plagued the platform for many years. While stopping it completely might prove difficult, Facebook is at least now taking action to reduce the issue with a new algorithm. As soon as this algorithm flags a message as suspicious, users are shown a warning prompt and are encouraged to take caution when engaging with the sender. As well as the message, the algorithm will review the activity of the sender.

You may have seen this feature already, but users are asked if they know a sender when their message is flagged as suspicious. If you don’t know the sender and make Facebook aware it will inform you of common scams, the importance of refusing requests, and more.

How does the algorithm work? Using machine learning and other techniques, the algorithm will review activity and look for the signs of behavior indicative of scammers or fraudsters. For example, it will take action when a user sends hundreds of messages to people they have never spoken to previously.

Spam is frustrating for all businesses and individuals, but another problem Facebook wants to tackle is predatory behavior on minors. If a user sends lots of messages to people under the age of 18, the system will flag the messages and further action may follow for the account in question. Facebook also wants to work on the other side by educating users under 18 - it encourages minors to ignore and report messages from people they don’t know.

Data Download

Finally, we come full circle as Facebook brought a data download feature to all users back in April. Just as we’ve seen with the new Ad Preferences update, the aim was to provide users with more transparency and control over their ad experience. Why do certain ads appear? What if these ads aren’t applicable at all?

In the Settings, users can click on Your Facebook Information and then Download Your Information. After choosing specific categories, media quality, download format, and a date range, click Create File and the download should start. The report that follows should offer information regarding interactions on Facebook and Instagram, categories assigned to an account, the content Facebook thinks you’re interested in, and more.

With this and other updates, Facebook is evidently working to improve user control when it comes to Ad Preferences and other areas of the platform!

Industry News
5 min read
April 29, 2021