Facebook changes the way it measures accounts for advertisers

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Facebook Inc. is changing the way it counts user profiles for advertising purposes—a move that will increase the number of total accounts an advertiser can reach—as part of an effort to improve privacy.

The company currently uses data, like a user's email address or phone ID, to link that person's Facebook and Instagram accounts for purposes. "We counted someone with multiple accounts as one person," Facebook explained in a post Monday.

Now, Facebook will stop linking accounts in this way unless users explicitly ask the company to do so, or unless people use certain features that tie the accounts together, like cross-posting to Instagram and Facebook at the same time, said Graham Mudd, vice president of product marketing for ads.

The change won't affect the daily or monthly active user totals Facebook reports to investors each quarter for earnings.

Facebook hinted in its blog post that the move was aimed at keeping up with anticipated regulatory changes. "This update aligns with trends of offering people more control over how their information is used for ads and is consistent with evolving advertising, privacy and regulatory environments," the blog post reads.

Facebook first alerted advertisers to this change in June, Mudd says. It goes into effect Monday.

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