Credit scores used to tailor ads from Facebook data

A new report out raises fresh questions over Facebook’s data-sharing deals.  According to The Intercept, advertisers are able to use Facebook-provided data to target ads based on a user’s credit score.

Worryingly, there are claims that Facebook may be trying to boost ad sales by handing over user data.

It is also claimed Facebook has helped at least one company direct its ads at users based on their presumed credit rating.

The report says the information Facebook collects includes things like location and demographic information, as well as data about your friends.

The social network then passes that aggregated data along to some of its telecom partners.

Facebook is already dealing with several data breach cases and criminal investigations and this is the latest shocking claims relating to personal data.

The tech giant may know even more about your personal data than you think.

Actionable Insights

The new revelations relate to a tool that Facebook uses called “Actionable Insights,”.

This is used to share data about its users’ mobile devices with telecom companies. The company has apparently courted 100 carriers in 50 countries with the free information.

The company claim this tool is used to help carriers provide better service in areas with poor connectivity. However, Facebook also uses this information to create targeted advertising.

Facebook may be sending the personal data of its users to network providers and phone manufacturers in the hope that they buy highly personalised adverts.

In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson said: “We never rated our users’ creditworthiness for Actionable Insights or across ads, and Facebook does not use people’s credit information in how we advertise on our platform.

The data Facebook is reportedly sharing includes technical information about user devices and Wi-Fi or mobile network use, as well as user interests, past locations and even social groupings gathered by the Facebook, Messenger and Instagram apps.

Credit score

Documents obtained by the Intercept suggest that the information could also be used to ‘single out individual customers basis of creditworthiness’ for example so adverts could be tailored to those with bad or good credit ratings.

Intercept writer Sam Biddle said: ‘It’s exactly this sort of quasi-transactional data access that’s become a hallmark of Facebook’s business.

This approach, he claimed, allowed the firm ‘to plausibly deny that it ever sells your data while still leveraging it for revenue.

One case study carried out by the Intercept allegedly highlighted how an unspecified US mobile network provider used the program to target ads at a specific racial demographic.

Another reported how Facebook data had been used to create ‘lookalike audiences’ to attempt to discriminate between users with good and poor credit ratings.

Lookalike audience

A ‘lookalike audience’ in digital marketing helps firms identify new target audiences. They do this by comparing potential customers with a reference demographic, which could either be a new customer or from the company’s existing client base.

This method is often successful because it identifies individuals who are similar to customers who already use the company’s services.

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