Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is planning to partner with three leading data marketing firms to give advertisers a way to target online advertising to its users.
The social media giant will announce deals with Datalogix, Axciom and Epsilon that will permit advertisers to use consumer shopping data already held by those companies to match ads to Facebook users. Sources tell NBCNews that Facebook will not share user data with the marketers and will use security measures to conceal user identities.
Lists of consumers, identified with email accounts or telephone numbers, will be sent by the three firms to Facebook, which will compared the lists to its user records. Sets of matches based on spending habits or demographic information will then be created for advertisers to target with specifically crafted ads. Offline data collected by the three marketing companies includes supermarket discount card shopping records and email lists.
News of the marketing deal provoked concerns for privacy advocates. A spokesperson for the Center for Digital Democracy called for limits on the use of external data collectors by Facebook.
However, a representative of the Electronic Frontier Foundation said that in previous marketing deals, Facebook had been careful not to disclose user information.
Shares of Facebook fell fractionally in Tuesday midday trading.