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Facebook's New Privacy Rules Clear the Way for Payments Push and Location-Based Ads

These tools are supposed to make it easier for you to opt out of certain kinds of ad targeting, but you likely don't care.

Adam Tow
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Facebook is updating its privacy policies and adding tools that are supposed to make it easier for you to understand them and to opt out of certain kinds of ad targeting.

It’s very likely that if you use Facebook, you don’t care.

At some point you accepted, consciously or not, that Facebook is interested in turning your attention and personal information into advertising dollars. And if you didn’t like that idea, you stopped using Facebook.

If you’re interested in tracking the evolution of Facebook as a business, though, it’s worth noting two things that Facebook itself is highlighting in its new text: Language that spells out its ambitions to sell you stuff and to serve you ads based on your location.

From the company’s new data policy, which technically doesn’t go into effect until Facebook users have weighed in, but come on:

Information about payments.
If you use our Services for purchases or financial transactions (like when you buy something on Facebook, make a purchase in a game, or make a donation), we collect information about the purchase or transaction. This includes your payment information, such as your credit or debit card number and other card information, and other account and authentication information, as well as billing, shipping and contact details.

And from a blog post explaining the new policy:

We’re updating our policies to explain how we get location information depending on the features you decide to use. Millions of people check into their favorite places and use optional features like Nearby Friends. We’re working on ways to show you the most relevant information based on where you are and what your friends are up to. For example, in the future, if you decide to share where you are, you might see menus from restaurants nearby or updates from friends in the area.

Neither idea is revelatory, and Facebook has already been publicly tinkering with both of them. But if you want to, you might read into the fact that Facebook is now expressly calling this stuff out/providing legal air cover, which means that it’s become particularly important to Mark Zuckerberg and company.

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