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Facebook shuts down third-party advertiser access in wake of Cambridge Analytica scandal

Facebook has this morning announced it will discontinue its partner categories program which enables third-party data providers such as Experian, Acxiom and Quantium to target the social media service’s users.

The move comes as the social media giant battles privacy concerns in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal which saw Facebook Australia’s boss Wil Easton apologise to advertisers earlier this week.

Zuckerberg’s latest announcement made The Guardian’s relationship “even more complicated”

“We want to let advertisers know that we will be shutting down Partner Categories,” said Graham Mudd, Facebook’s product marketing director in this morning’s announcement.

“This product enables third-party data providers to offer their targeting directly on Facebook. While this is common industry practice, we believe this step, winding down over the next six months, will help improve people’s privacy on Facebook.

When the program was launched in 2015, Facebook’s then lead of global data partnerships, Spencer Smith, said: “We take privacy very seriously and we want to give users more control.”

Today’s advertising announcement comes as Facebook has also updated its privacy control settings, making controls easier to find and use in a new privacy shortcuts menu on the service’s site and apps.

Restricting access to user data was a promise made by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg last week, saying in a public post on the site: “We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you. I’ve been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

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