In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the question we’ve been hearing most is: “Should we still be advertising on Facebook?” The answer is yes. Lack of transparency in digital media is often caused by a knowledge gap by both users and marketers. The bottom line is that it is possible to use Facebook data in an ethical way to serve targeted ads. Facebook is free to billions of users because of a simple fact: the user is the product. By serving ads using the terms and conditions set by the platform and agreed to by the user, companies get their ads in front of the right people, at the right place and at the right moment. In fact, it’s been proven that users prefer ads that are relevant to them based on the data that social media has collected about them. The Cambridge Analytica situation is an outlier and was blatant misuse of the data from the Facebook platform, and it’s painted a negative picture of the ability to use use data ethically in order to target ads. But the effect of the data breach on most businesses using Facebook is minimal, and the advantages to staying on the platform far outweigh the prospect of pulling your business of off it. Facebook has also responded by tightening up their policies to protect user data. No More Partner Data Essentially, the feature that allowed ads to be targeted based on third-party data provided by data brokers such as Experian, will be removed and only Facebook-specific collected data will remain. Source: https://newsroom.fb.com/news/h/shutting-down-partner-categories/ API (Application Program Interfaces) Will Need Manual Facebook Approval Facebook has partnerships with apps that allow companies to use Facebook data for their own use. Facebook is moving to a manual-review process and only very few companies will be able to access this data. Source: https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2018/04/restricting-data-access/ Call And Text History Wiped Messenger has a feature that shares all of your Android call and SMS data (not content). Facebook is purging data older than a year. Source: https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2018/04/restricting-data-access/ Using ethical targeting, we know that someone who has “liked” posts about Caribbean vacation destinations is probably a good audience to serve ads to about a new Caribbean resort. We can use 98 data points to create a buyer persona for the person you are looking to turn into a consumer. The information we use is private and cannot be tied back to an individual person’s information but we can see your overall bottom line grow to attribute the success social media plays in your marketing plan. Facebook’s multi-billion user audience isn’t going away anytime soon. Hopefully the platform’s investment in transparency will reinstill trust by its users, as well as invigorate best practices for ethical advertising.