2018 was basically a bumpy ride for Facebook with series of scandals over data protection reported, coupled with growing concerns of the platform helping spread divisive or misleading information for political purposes. While the popular social media network continues to face criticism, Facebook’s Co-Founder and Chief Mark Zuckerberg defending its platform’s business asserted that “targeting ads based on interests was different from selling people’s data.” AFP reported.
“If we’re committed to serving everyone, then we need a service that is affordable to everyone,” Zuckerberg said in an opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal.” “The best way to do that is to offer services for free, which ads enable us to do.” The Facebook CEO says that to serve relevant ads, understanding of people’s interest is necessary. He further says that users have control over how their information should be used for ad targeting. Users can even block advertisers as per their preference.
He explains “Based on what pages people like, what they click on, and other signals, we create categories … and then charge advertisers to show ads in that category.” “You have control over what information we use to show you ads, and you can block any advertiser from reaching you.” The social networking tracks what users like and share, which further helps them incorporate relevant ads.
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“Sometimes this means people assume we do things that we don’t do,” Zuckerberg said of the business of supporting the social network with targeted ads. “For example, we don’t sell people’s data, even though it’s often reported that we do.” Mark Zuckerberg further explained that selling a user’s data would not only break Facebook users trust but also go against Facebook’s business interests as the data can be used by rivals to compete for advertising.
“Another question is whether we leave harmful or divisive content up because it drives engagement. We don’t.” “The only reason bad content remains is because people and artificial-intelligence systems we use to review it are not perfect — not because we have an incentive to ignore it,” he said.