Facebook Tightens Data Settings And Launches Mobile Ad Network

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New measures allow users to limit how much personal information they share with third-party mobile apps

Facebook has introduced new measures designed to help users limit how much personal data is accessed and used by third party mobile applications, while it has also launched a mobile ad network called Facebook Audience Network, which aims to help developers generate revenue without selling their own adverts.

Users of the social network have been able to log into apps since 2010, a move which has increased privacy concerns. Facebook will hope ‘Anonymous Login’, announced at the F8 developer event in San Francisco, will ally such fears.

Privacy Moves

“People tell us they’re sometimes worried about sharing information with apps and want more choice and control over what personal information apps receive,” said Facebook. “Today’s announcements put power and control squarely in people’s hands.”

mzuckerberg10610“By giving people more power and control, they’re going to trust all the apps that we build more, and over time use them more. And that’s positive for everyone,” Zuckerberg was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Anonymous Login provides an easier way for people to try an app without sharing any of their personal information from Facebook (for example if they only want to try an app and don’t wish to share any data).

It complements a  revised ‘Facebook Login’, which  gives users the option to pick and choose what information the third party app gets. Facebook has also released a ‘Redesigned App Control Panel’ provides users with a centralised location for them to see and manage the apps they use.

Ad Network

The social networking giant also used the developer conference to launch a new service to distribute ads across a network of mobile applications, which could open up a lucrative new source of revenue for the company.

Essentially, the ‘Facebook Audience Network’ allows developers building mobile app to easily insert various adverts into their software. The developers and Facebook share the advertising money this generates.

“This is really the first time that we’re going to help you monetize in a serious way on mobile,” Zuckerberg was quoted as saying.

Facebook is facing intense competition in the mobile app advertising space. Google of course has its AdMob service that allows advertisers to distribute ads to mobile apps. Twitter meanwhile purchased the MoPub ad network last year.

Facebook first introduced mobile app adverts, which allowed developers to show off their products on users’ news feeds, back in August 2012. The company already generates most of its money from adverts that controversially appear in user’s newsfeeds and on its own mobile app. Now with the ability to distribute adverts across a broad range of independent mobile apps, Facebook will expand its advertising reach in order to potentially bring in more money.

Back in 2012, an investigation by the BBC questioned the value of advertising on Facebook and highlighted the disproportionate response that some received from apparently fake user accounts.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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