Apple, if you’re not already aware of it, is ramping up its privacy controls in iOS. More importantly, the company is making it so users have to opt-in to tracking, rather than the default approach for many platforms — which is to make it all opt-out and to keep moving the settings for that around. Facebook, a company built on absorbing personal data and converting it into money, doesn’t like that idea very much.
So much so that Facebook this week took out full-page ads in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post calling out Apple for the proposed change — which will only fully kick in in 2021. The reason for this, according to Facebook, is that small businesses will lose revenue as a result of a reduced access ability to put personalised ads in front of eyeballs.
Privacy: Not just for Zuckerberg any more
— Dave Stangis (@DaveStangis) December 16, 2020
But not everyone believes the social media juggernaut’s motives are all that pure. The majority of Facebook’s advertising comes from smaller businesses and, without unfettered access to personal data, the company stands to lose a substantial amount of revenue should its advertising platform (which is built on its user’s data) become less effective.
Facebook probably has a point when it comes to small businesses potentially suffering from lost sales thanks to reduced personalised ads but its in-print advertisements complaining about it miss one glaring point. Those advertisers can also just… spend their advertising money somewhere else if people being informed how much money their data makes for Facebook becomes a problem.
An Apple a day
Apple exposing all the ways Facebook tracks you with it iOS app is really quite something pic.twitter.com/hDhB85qk1L
— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) December 16, 2020
Apple has been keen on user privacy for quite some time, attempting to tailor matters so that even Apple doesn’t have access to user data if user’s would prefer matters that way. The company recently rolled out new privacy labels for apps on its store, disclosing what user information collected by each and every app on the App Store is used for. Including all of Apple’s own apps. Apple gives a more detailed explanation of its new privacy settings here.
Apple gave a statement on Facebook’s newsprint-fuelled shot across its bows, saying “We believe that this is a simple matter of standing up for our users. Users should know when their data is being collected and shared across other apps and websites — and they should have the choice to allow that or not. App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14 does not require Facebook to change its approach to tracking users and creating targeted advertising, it simply requires they give users a choice.”