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Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook is shutting down a tool called "Partner Categories," which allowed marketers to access third-party data to target advertising, the company confirmed to Axios on Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's the most tangible product update the company has made in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which sparked a global conversation around user data privacy being compromised for advertising and marketing purposes. It's also a move that will have very tangible affects on Facebook's business, as many marketers rely on this type of data to target ads on the platform.

How it works: Facebook previously let marketers target advertisers using three types of data. They are now shutting down the tool that let them use the third type of data listed below to target ads.

  1. First-party data, or data users give to Facebook upon using the service, like birthdays, workplace and data through engagement (photo ploads, likes, etc.)
  2. Advertiser data, or data that advertisers bring to Facebook to target, like a catalog list or a list or potential voters. Advertisers must certify that the data is indeed there and that if it is data they obtained through a third party, that they have permission to use it. They can also create "lookalike" lists through Fcaebook, or data sets that have similar attributes to the data targets on their lists, to expand their reach.
  3. Third-party data, or aggregate data. This type of data typically comes from back-end business-to business technology firms, like Acxiom, Experian.

Be smart: It's a common industry practice to use third-party data to target ads online, especially on big tech platforms like Facebook. Traditional publishers and many of Facebook's technology competitors do this often. This move will give Facebook a less competitive edge in ad sales, but the company thinks it's worth it given the chaos that's surrounded their data policies over the past few weeks.

"We want to let advertisers know that we will be shutting down Partner Categories. This product enables third party data providers to offer their targeting directly on Facebook. While this is common industry practice, we believe this step, winding down over the next six months, will help improve people’s privacy on Facebook."
— Graham Product, Marketing Director

Our thought bubble: Facebook made roughly $13 billion dollars on ad revenue last quarter, with almost all of that ad that revenue coming from programmatic, or automated ads. Many were purchased using third-party data firms to target those ads. This will have a significant impact on Facebook's business model going forward, but it will likely also limit bad actors from being able to abuse Facebook's data policies.

Go deeper

Updated 13 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.

Department of Interior proposes raising cost of drilling on public lands

A horizontal drilling rig and a pump jack sit on federal land in Lea County, New Mexico. Photo: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oil and gas companies should pay more to drill on federal lands and waters, the Department of the Interior argued in a report released Friday, saying that the current rates were "outdated."

Driving the news: The Department of Interior report said that the federal government's oil and gas leasing and permitting program "fails to provide a fair return to taxpayers, even before factoring in the resulting climate-related costs that must be borne by taxpayers."

14 hours ago - Health

U.S. to restrict air travel from 8 countries over new COVID variant concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. will impose new air travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa, President Biden announced Friday.

The big picture: Air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.

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