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A World Without Walls

  • - Scott Howe
  • 2 min read

As our clients and partners know, ethical practices for data sourcing, use, and governance have been among Acxiom’s core strengths throughout our nearly 50-year history. We have a track record of setting internal standards above and beyond current laws and regulations and have always been a vocal advocate for consumer rights and protections.

In recent weeks, Facebook has been featured prominently in the news for what it describes as a breach of trust that occurred between Facebook and consumers. On Wednesday, Facebook notified the industry that the Facebook Partner Categories tool, which allows audience personalization through third-party data, will be discontinued over the next several months. While some may infer that this implies Acxiom and other ethical data partners were somehow at fault, this is simply not the case.

How any large publisher uses its own data is entirely its own decision. However, every member of the marketing community — no matter how large — has a responsibility to the community’s other citizens. Everyone should want a level, transparent and ethical playing field that doesn’t bias choice or opportunity.

Our world is becoming more data-driven with each passing day. Thousands of companies rely on ethically sourced third-party data to better serve their customers and have done so for decades. Now is not the time to make walls thicker or higher. This should be a moment for the industry to rally around principles of transparency, choice, and a commitment to putting the consumer at the center of everything we do – principles for which Acxiom has always stood.

Marketers have more choices than ever and can reach consumers in thousands of places online. We remain committed to working with all parts of the ecosystem – ethically, openly, and transparently – to ensure consumers everywhere can benefit from the countless ways that data makes their lives easier and better.

Our most important advice to our many industry colleagues:

  • Encourage the entire industry to put real safeguards in place rather than provide window dressing and politically motivated spin.
  • Don’t allow any partners, no matter how powerful, to force you to work in their proprietary black box.  Instead, seek industry standards that apply to everyone equally and fairly.
  • Take a stand.  Support the democratization of data and a level playing field – it’s good for all of us.

Let’s create a world without walls.