Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on February 1st that they would be showing a prompt on all of their Apple users globally that would allow them to gather data from their users. This just means that Facebook could obtain permission to track all of the data that is used by all of the users that utilize Apple’s iOS systems, especially real Facebook Likes. This is done both in preparation and as an answer to Apple’s iOS 14 Beta that would show a change in the system’s privacy settings that would show a prompt that would make this required among all of its users. This would greatly help businesses that utilize advertisements, as well. This change could give users personalized ads more personalized. The Facebook prompt will give its users information as to why they should be given the personalized data and be given permission to track them on their iOS devices.
Why Would Facebook Do This:
Facebook has been, for the last couple of months, continuously been speaking up for small businesses and how much damage can they take from iOS’ latest iOS 14 Beta. This is a real problem for real Facebook Followers who have their data exposed to the company.
Facebook has even gone to such lengths as posting a newspaper advertisement. In the article, Facebook has claimed that the current iOS change would force a business to focus on subscription rather than on other more conventional free methods. The change would give Apple more revenue, and free services would be forced to quit the market altogether. Facebook has even claimed that Apple has done this change more for-profit rather than privacy.
Facebook also claims that Apple could directly impact businesses that are already impacted by the pandemic. A study conducted by Facebook themselves claimed that 60% of small businesses would see a cut in their own sales as an effect of the cut down on personalized ads. Though Apple’s personalized ad platform does not strictly follow the new iOS 14’s policy, Facebook has no other choice but to comply. They have to make this band-aid fix in order to try and help small businesses get back on their feet after the punch in the gut that is the Coronavirus pandemic. Facebook has no other choice but to comply, as if they did not, Apple could easily retaliate, which could potentially harm all of the businesses under Facebook’s wing.
In a statement, Facebook has claimed that they have to play along with Apple’s new privacy change. If they did not, Apple could easily block Facebook from Apple’s App Store. This will be a huge problem for all of the people and businesses that rely on their algorithms to grow and prosper.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also attacked the software giant, saying that the App Tracking Transparency change can be used to greatly disadvantage Facebook. He also claimed that Apple was their biggest competitor and that this change could greatly affect not only Facebook but also millions of their users who use their iOS platform.
What Apple Has To Say:
Apple CEO Tim Cook has claimed that the business model that Facebook utilizes has much more devastating and real-world consequences like violence and reducing public trust in the up-and-coming Coronavirus vaccine.
“If a business is built on misleading users, on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all, it does not deserve our praise. It deserves reform,” Cook said in a speech in Brussels on the 28th of January. Though Cook has not mentioned Facebook directly, it is directly implied that he was targeting the social media giant with that statement.
Cook has also noted that the algorithm that Facebook uses that suggesting extremist groups to its users. Though Facebook has already addressed the issue, It could still easily be an issue among its users. This comment deeply coincides with the attacks done in Capitol Hill by pro-Trump supporters on the 6th of January. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has already denied the issue by saying that the rioters that planned the attack were “largely” not affected by the company. Though, the question still stands if the algorithm used by the social media giant supercharged the attack as well.
What This All Means:
A Facebook spokesperson said in an interview that the new Apple prompt was purposely designed with the intent of a false tradeoff between personalized ads and privacy. Facebook claims, though, that they could easily provide both in one fell swoop. Agreeing with Facebook’s policy does not collect different types of data, as all it means is that Facebook can give people better experiences from their services. Notably, Facebook does not actively use the word “tracking” in their permissions page, though the pop-ups that Apple uses clearly states that Facebook is asking for permission to “track your apps and websites owned by other companies.” A report issued by The Information estimates that less than 20% of the users would allow tracking on their iOS devices.
Though developers have been notified of this issue since last fall, Apple has delayed the implementation of the prompt. Originally meant to be from September last year, it would be extended to give more developers the chance to comply.
Apple has also continuously defended its choices over the attacks made by Facebook and has continuously refuted claims made by Facebook. This is now the largest tech company feud to date, as Facebook is dead set on filing a lawsuit against Apple. The antitrust lawsuit that Facebook filed has alleged that Apple abuses its power by regulating non-Apple applications to abide by the App Store rules. Applications owned by Apple do not have to follow this regulation, and this, Facebook claims, is fraudulent.
Though this change would not directly affect casual users like you and me, it would surely cause a shift in online marketing that would cause a change in Facebook advertisements. Both sides have definitely been at an impasse. Though both tech giants have made claims that attack each other, they have come to a standpoint on the issue. Facebook, though not happy with the change that this would bring, would still honor Apple’s changes.