Facebook’s massive business was built on its ability to track users across the internet. But now, thanks to looming regulation and other moves to restrict such data collection, that is changing. Hundreds of engineers are rebuilding how Facebook’s ads work to place more value on user privacy, according to Graham Mudd, a top ad executive at the company.
The moves by Facebook, which are still in their infancy, illustrate how the ad-supported internet economy is in the process of being fundamentally reshaped. Along with Google, Facebook is examining several privacy-enhancing techniques to deliver personalized ads without knowing anything about the specific individuals who view them. That’s an about-face from how ad targeting has worked online to date.