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Irish data commissioner gets Facebook to introduce new privacy controls





Facebook is to introduce a new privacy control setting after negotiations with the Irish data protection commissioner.

The social networking giant is to let people opt out of 'interest-based' advertising using a new control in its settings.

The move, says Facebook, is a result of discussions with Irish regulators and will apply internationally.

Interest based ads are ads that appear in a user's Facebook timeline based on other websites or apps that the user has visited.

"Let’s say that you’re thinking about buying a new TV, and you start researching TVs on the web and in mobile apps," said a Facebook spokesman on the issue. "We may show you ads for deals on a TV to help you get the best price or other brands to consider. And because we think you’re interested in electronics, we may show you ads for other electronics in the future, like speakers or a game console to go with your new TV."

Up to now, Facebook users have had to go looking for opt-outs using phone settings or by visiting the Digital Advertising Alliance's website (aboutads.info) on a PC.

But now, the social networking giant is to allow users switch off the ad-tracking function within Facebook's settings.

"We're introducing an additional way for people to turn off this kind of advertising from the ad settings page right on Facebook," said Stephen Deadman, Facebook's global deputy chief privacy officer. "If you choose to use this tool, it will become the master control for online interest-based advertising across all of your devices and browsers where you use Facebook."

Those who have already opted out of interest-based Facebook ads on their phone's controls or through aboutads.info do not need to take any action, he said.

"We'll continue to honor your choice across all of your devices and browsers where you use Facebook. And we’ll continue to support the Digital Advertising Alliance, as well as the iOS and Android tools going forward."

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But Mr Deadman said that interest-based ads will remain a growing part of Facebook's commercial strategy as a way of serving people ads that they might find relevant or less irritating.

"We are continuing to roll out online interest-based advertising and will now begin including information from pages that use Facebook's Like button and similar social features," he said. "We hope that the ads people see will continue to become more useful and relevant and that this new control will make it easier for people to have the ads experience they want."

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