After the Infinite Segment Model

It might have slipped past you in the news generally this week, or even in your more specific social media news, but the Facebook announced the removal of five-thousand (or more) possible targeting parameters and expanded advertiser education, a decision with important effects. Although a full list of removed targets was not presented, this does represent a major shift. Advertising Age noted that this was the long coming implication of Pro Publica’s investigative reporting on the abuse of ad targeting tools: Facebook’s segments could be used to ferret out private information or to deny housing or employment opportunities. This is a major step forward for the network that has only recently begun to take responsibility for the dynamics of the feed. What is striking is how this changes Facebook’s description of advertising, which until this point had relied on a vision of an ever-tightening targeting toward an infinite number of market segments.

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All the water in the ocean

Associate Professor of Social Media. Oregon State University. Read my book: Selling Social Media (Bloomsbury Academic), 2018.

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