In June 2020, Apple announced that updating iOS 14 to its mobile operating system would bring a mechanism that would allow users to stop tracking ads in the app by refusing to share the IDFA ID with app developers. This feature, called Application Tracking Transparency, has sparked outrage from advertising giants about how it would impact their business. Apple has delayed the application until 2021 to allow developers to adapt their applications. But as 2021 approaches, advertising giants like Facebook have hit Apple again for the job.
This policy update, along with the upcoming feature of the transparency tracking app, has prompted Facebook to run a series of full-page ads with Apple in reputable newspapers such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post (via Tighteningomberg).
Facebook claims that these changes in iOS will extend to small businesses, limiting their ability to deliver personalized ads and reach their customers effectively. According to Facebook, small business advertisers could see a 60% reduction in their sales for every dollar they spend on ads because those ads would no longer target the right customers.
Facebook also posted a blog post about the issue, further arguing that the changes will force companies to use subscriptions and other in-app payments for revenue, some of which will be returned to Apple (although smaller developers have had “Apple tax” (Reduced to 15%). Moreover, it is said that Apple’s own personalized advertising platform is exempt from the new changes to the iOS 14 policy. Facebook has no choice but to show the requests required to give up, even if they do not agree with the changes in light of the impact it would have on the business that the company wants to support.
Facebook continues its attack on Apple, saying it is behaving anti-competitively, using its iron control of the App Store to benefit from its own results to the detriment of app developers and small businesses. And for this reason, Facebook also provides relevant information in Apple vs. Epic Games disputes about how Apple’s policies have a negative impact on Facebook and those who use the services of the social media giant.
Apple responded to Facebook critics, saying in a statement (via TheVerge) that’s it “in front of our users“.
We believe that this is a simple matter of being in favor of our users. Users should know when their data is collected and shared between other applications and websites – and should be able to allow it or not. Transparency of app tracking in iOS 14 does not require Facebook to change its approach to tracking users and creating targeted advertising, but simply gives users a choice.
Apple’s statement comes when Facebook launches a second ad (via TheVerge) entitled “Apple vs free internet“.
This new announcement supports Apple’s iOS 14 privacy changes “it will change the internet as we know it“And force sites and blogs”to start charging your subscription fees“Or add in-app purchases due to a lack of personalized ads.
To add more context to Facebook’s PR campaign, here’s what the new privacy section of the App Store for the official Facebook app looks like:
Apple reveals all the ways Facebook follows you with the iOS app is really something pic.twitter.com/hDhB85qk1L
– Tom Warren (@tomwarren) December 16, 2020
It remains to be seen how this war of words will end. Needless to say, there is big money at stake on both sides of the fence. Both companies would make you believe that their cause is the most legitimate and the fairest. But the truth is likely to be somewhere in the middle, closer to corporate profit ideals.
Update: Apple’s answer
Apple CEO Tim Cook responded to Facebook’s attacks with a simple answer:
We believe that users should be able to choose from the data collected about them and how they are used. Facebook can continue to track users in apps and websites as before, the transparency of the tracking app in iOS 14 will only require you to ask your permission first. pic.twitter.com/UnnAONZ61I
– Tim Cook (@tim_cook) December 17, 2020
Mr Cook’s reply essentially insinuates that Apple gives users a choice and does not force them to give up any pursuit. By extension, Facebook attacks indicate that users will largely choose to give up tracking when given that choice. So, it becomes essential for the Facebook business that users do not receive this choice.