Facebook to Allow Targeting by Telephone Number?

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.

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One Response to “Facebook to Allow Targeting by Telephone Number?”

  1. Robin says at

    Facebook at least should make sure their advertisers cover the fact that they share personal data such as email address with 3rd parties (Facebook) in their privacy policy, or their advertisers may get fined for violating privacy laws.

    What I’m missing here is to (re)target all visitors to my site. There is already a “Like” button on there, so Facebook can measure that one of their users has visited my site (even if they did not click the “Like” button). As an advertiser I’d like to push ads into these users’ news feeds, e.g. offering a discount (coupons?), to try to get them to come back to my site and make a purchase.

  2. SFD: Groupon’s New App, Amazon Snubs Google Maps | Street Fight says at

    […] to speak ahead of Thursday’s launch event.Facebook to Allow Targeting by Telephone Number?¬†(Screenwerk) Facebook is considering new types of ad targeting, including by email address, UDID (mobile) and […]

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