You probably already knew this, but Facebook wants to sell you stuff. Despite the fact that the site itself is free to use, the social media giant is all about making money by targeting consumers. Their latest plan? Well, it looks like Facebook might mine the data from your CVS ExtraCare card to sell you more prescription drugs. Can we get an “unlike” for that?
By partnering with Datalogix, a company that tracks the effects of online ads on consumer behavior, Facebook will be able to match up online accounts with real-life identities in order to learn more about purchasing habits. Datalogix has partners in all sorts of different spheres, but their main means of compiling data is using store loyalty cards. One significant one? That would be CVS, the place where you buy pick up prescriptions, as well as tampons and those handy oversize bottles of ibuprofen.
Although Facebook and Datalogix say they won’t share individual’s data with each other, they will attempt to determine whether a Facebook ad led a person to buy a product.
As Aviva Shen at ThinkProgress points out,
By studying regular drug purchasing habits, a company can draw conclusions about the types of ailments and demographic traits that make someone more susceptible to their advertisements — all without actually violating the FDA’s advertising requirements.
It seems like it’s a complicated situation; while Facebook has given benefits to Big Pharma before, they say this new partnership with Datalogix isn’t something that will compromise your privacy as a consumer. Facebook issued the following statement:
“We are working with Datalogix to help advertisers understand how well their Facebook ads are working. We also do this through our partnerships with companies like Nielsen and comScore and through our own advertising tool. We know that people share a lot of information on Facebook, and we have taken great care to make sure that we measure the effectiveness of Facebook ads without compromising the commitments we have made on privacy. We don’t sell people’s personal information, and individual user data is not shared between Facebook, Datalogix or advertisers.”
Despite that, we still think its worth opting out of Datalogix. Do so by visiting this link, where you can disable cookie-based online advertising on your browser.
Update 10/2: We received an email from Facebook clarifying their partnership with Datalogix (and the fact that no personal information will be shared). Here’s what they told us:
The Datalogix solution is a way for Facebook advertisers to understand how effective their ads were in driving sales. So what happens is Datalogix hashes its merchant data (hashing is a way of encrypting user data so it can’t be personally identifiable or decrypted) and overlays it on hashed Facebook ad exposure data to ascertain any hashed matches. Once that happens, all Datalogix delivers to the advertiser and to Facebook is a % increase lift in sales in-store as a result of a Facebook ad campaign. No user level data is ever shared between Facebook, Datalogix, or the advertiser – meaning, no one know what someone bought as a result of seeing an ad on Facebook.