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Facebook (Nasdaq: FB  ) is testing out new ways to target ads toward its users in a way that appears promising -- but is also already stirring up controversy. The social networking site is now allowing advertisers to use user phone numbers and email addresses -- if that data is volunteered on one's profile -- to target ads, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The experimental ad-targeting strategy will also involve data from users' browsing history on other Internet sites.

So far the new method has proven effective, with $1 spent on Facebook corresponding to an additional $3 in sales with nearly three quarters of the companies who've employed the strategy, the Journal reports. Needless to say, privacy advocates are not enthused, and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission last week. EPIC maintains that Facebook isn't playing fair, changing advertising procedure by beginning to include outside browsing information without user consent, the report said. Facebook, for its part, asserts that the experimental method is entirely legal, and has emphasized that it's not sharing the identities of the people associated with the new data points.

If you'd like to learn more about Facebook, Motley Fool analysts have prepared a premium report on the company that will get you up to date. Get your copy today to stay attuned to the risks and rewards facing this modern tech giant.

Fool contributor John Divine owns no shares in any of the above companies. You can follow him on Twitter @divinebizkid and on Motley Fool CAPS @TMFDivine.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Facebook. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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10/21/2016 4:00 PM
FB $132.07 Up +2.07 +1.59%
Facebook CAPS Rating: ***