Social media giant, Facebook has been accused of many things including selling people’s data to advertisers.

This has prompted the co-founder and Chief Executive of the company, Mark Zuckerberg to renew his defense of the social network's business, arguing that targeting ads based on interests was different from selling people's data.

"If we're committed to serving everyone, then we need a service that is affordable to everyone," Zuckerberg said in an opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal.

"The best way to do that is to offer services for free, which ads enable us to do."

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2018 was a horrific year for Facebook, marked by a series of scandals over data protection and privacy concerns that the leading social network had been manipulated by foreign interests for political purposes.

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Despite the scandals, Facebook revenue and user numbers have continued to grow.

Facebook uses "signals" such as pages users "like" and what they share about themselves to target advertising.

"Sometimes this means people assume we do things that we don't do," Zuckerberg said of the business of supporting the social network with targeted ads.

"For example, we don't sell people's data, even though it's often reported that we do."

Selling user data will not only undermine essential trust in the social network, it will go against Facebook's business interests because rivals could use it to compete for advertising, he reasoned.

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