Facebook privacy exec: Ads are not ‘a tax on users’

Facebook privacy exec: Ads are not ‘a tax on users’

A Facebook official tasked with user privacy says that one reason the company isn’t inclined to offer an ad-free version for users who pay is that they want users to find ads on the site useful, rather than viewing them as a burden.

“One of the points that you made is that advertising is effectively a tax on users. We disagree with that,” said Steve Satterfield, manager of privacy and public policy, according to a Thursday Wall Street Journal report.

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“We think you can create an advertising experience that can actually create real value for people.”

In general, though, company representatives at the event — sponsored by Facebook — stayed mum, according to the Journal.

Facebook and other startups that target advertising at their users are under increasing pressure to show that they are stewards of customer data.

“I’m speaking to you from Silicon Valley, where some of the most prominent and successful companies have built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a Tuesday speech, according to TechCrunch. “They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it.”

Earlier this week, Google announced that it was rolling out a new page from which users could control their privacy and security settings across all of Google’s services — like Maps and Gmail. Facebook has made updates to its privacy controls in the past to reassure users that their data is safe.