Cracking Facebook’s new Atlas tracking · 2014-10-01 16:07 by Ben Williams
Turning the people of social media into “people-based marketing”?
On Monday, the industry rumors came true and Facebook relaunched Atlas. Atlas is an ad platform that Facebook purchased from Microsoft last year, and it allows advertisers to track ad effectiveness across devices for users around the globe. After that they can buy ads on sites and apps outside Facebook based on Facebook’s targeting info.
The Wall Street Journal posted an article that Facebook is going to link users’ Facebook accounts to their ad interactions. TechCrunch’s Anthony Ha surmises in his post that Facebook’s ability to track users across devices “means Atlas can tell advertisers if someone saw their ad on, say, their smartphone and then made a purchase from their laptop, or vice versa.”
The big difference here is that Atlas will not be solely reliant on cookies. Rather, so-called “people-based marketing” will allow the company to track activity among a user’s devices and connect online campaigns to offline purchases.
Facebook claims that your identity will remain anonymous when it is sold to advertisers. Meaning what, exactly? That they will sell my “metadata” but not me when they use my Facebook profile to target ads to me outside Facebook? How much of me do they consider me?
For many users this will be unacceptable, either because they are concerned about their private data, do not want to be served the ads generated from said data or both.
Never fear, Adblock Plus is here
While Adblock Plus applauds innovation that improves the advertising experience for the user, we firmly believe that the user should have the choice whether or not they want to be tracked and targeted. So, even as the dust is still settling on Facebook’s announcement of the Atlas ad platform, Adblock Plus quietly issued a work-around to Facebook’s newest tracking attempts. ABP now protects its users by blocking the ads the new Atlas tracking would serve across the web. Our approach is simple: Facebook can’t track you if you’re using Adblock Plus on the device in question. And even if you somehow get tracked once on a single device you’ll be able to block the ads that Atlas would serve you on your next device with Adblock Plus. In short, you can break the ad circle that Facebook-Atlas is trying to connect around you.
If you don’t want Facebook and other corporate behemoths tracking your every movement on the Internet and on all of your devices in order to hit you with unwanted ads, install Adblock Plus on every browser and every device you own. And please sign our Acceptable Ads Manifesto, which is all about telling Facebook and any other 2,000-pound corporate gorillas out there to clean up their act.
We come in peace!
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