Apple will be rolling out privacy features this spring that will limit apps’ ability to track users. While the change is welcomed by privacy advocates, Facebook is launching a major offensive by announcing on Monday that it will be sending out its own notifications highlighting the benefits of tracking.
Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg is taking a break while he talks about the new Facebook news feature in the Paley … [+]
Photo by Drew Angerer / Getty Images
The new privacy update from Apple asks all users if they want to be tracked across different apps. This prevents third parties like Facebook from collecting data from other apps and thus creating profiles for individual users for targeted advertising.
For example, if a user adds something to their shopping cart in the Amazon app, Facebook can access that data and users may see an ad for the same product on Facebook.
The new notifications that users can use to log out appear as soon as users open or download an app. This makes them more visible than Apple’s current system. Therefore, users need to configure their preferences in order to make this selection.
Facebook has spoken out against the change because it threatens its lucrative advertising business and, according to recent estimates, could lead to a 7% drop in sales.
In its fiercest opposition to date, Facebook said Monday it would send its own call directing Apple’s action, telling users that collecting such data enables more personalized ads and “supports small businesses that rely on ads to serve customers to reach”.
Facebook argues that if users unsubscribe, they won’t see fewer ads, the ads are just less relevant, and at the same time small businesses would lose some of their ability to serve hyper-targeted ads, forcing some to advertise for prices or turn A subscription model.
Facebook and Apple have been on a collision course since Apple released the app tracking transparency announcement last summer. Facebook ran full-page ads in several newspapers saying it was “facing Apple for small business.” And last week, Zuckerberg said Apple was increasingly one of the social networking’s biggest competitors. Meanwhile, Apple CEO Tim Cook replied during a speech in Brussels: “If a company relies on misleading users to exploit data and on decisions that are not choices at all, it doesn’t deserve our praise.”
“This is a ridiculous attempt by Facebook to distract you from its poor track record of anti-competitive behavior and privacy issues as it tries to prevent Apple privacy changes that are bad for Facebook’s business,” said the Electronic Frontier Foundation in December. “There should be an obvious basis for requiring trackers to obtain your consent before tracking you over the Internet. We applaud Apple for this change.”
Public polls have consistently shown that users don’t like being followed. It’s unclear how many iOS users will sign out when prompted. However, dating app Bumble estimates that only 0-20% will be selected for pursuit.
What to look for
According to Apple, Apple’s privacy update will take effect early this spring.