The blog Inside Facebook reported that Facebook is considering new types of ad targeting, including by email address, UDID (mobile) and phone number. Here’s the screen capture the site posted, appearing to validate the claim:
This would be horrifying but, apparently, Facebook is going to require that the consumer already have provided the information to the advertiser before permitting the targeting. There may be additional safeguards that Facebook is considering.
I haven’t spoken to the company about it.
Beyond the fact of PII targeting, marketers could potentially target certain types of users or audiences. Once you have a phone number you can generally unlock income and other data through various databases.
Another company that already does this is VoodooVox, which operates a mobile ad network. It aggregates and analyzes huge volumes of third party and public data. Then it enables ads to be targeted on the basis of data that can be associated with the phone number and location. In some cases VoodooVox has PII in addition to aggregated, anonymous data. The phone number can unlock quite a bit of data and information about the user/caller.
If Facebook does proceed with this the company had better be extremely careful and clear about the privacy protections . . . or the “political” fallout will be enormous.