Last week Apple rolled out the latest operating system update for its devices. Called iOS 14.5, it didn’t feature significant updates barring the addition of App Tracking Transparency. The feature allows users the ability to limit the amount of information gathered by apps like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp — and the holding company’s not happy.
Now Facebook’s turning to straight-up manipulation, by detailing how its app tracking ventures are critical to keeping its services “free of charge.” ATT requires apps to show users a prompt asking for their consent before tracking them across other apps and websites. And the social network’s not wrong — that is exactly how it makes its money.
Facebook’s white-label data mining business
The social media company makes its billions (it’s valued at $938.34 billion as of 30 April 2021) by offering ad services to its troves of users. Businesses can pay Facebook money to serve ads to a particular group of people that should be interested in that service or product. And it gets that detailed information by tracking users across its various apps (Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp).
According to a tweet by Ashkan Soltan, Facebook’s ATT prompt now includes “Help keep Facebook free of charge.” While true, users should be able to choose whether they want to opt into being tracked or not, hence Apple’s rollout of the feature. The comapny turned to its blog to detail some of the thinking behind the new wording on its notification pop-up.
“As Apple has said that providing additional context is allowed, we will show an educational screen before presenting Apple’s prompt to help people make an informed decision about how their information is used. It provides more details about how we use data for personalized ads, as well as the ways we limit the use of activity other apps and websites send us if people don’t turn on this device setting. Our screen also lets people know that they’re seeing Apple’s prompt due to Apple’s requirements for iOS 14.5,” the company details.
Following Apple’s update to both iPhones and iPads, users will have more control over what personal information apps can track. Facebook’s new prompt will roll out to users over the next few days.