- Facebook took out full-page ads in newspapers like The New York Times blasting part of Apple’s new software update, which will make it more difficult for Facebook to target users with ads.
- The update will require app developers including Facebook to ask users for permission to collect and track their data across their devices.
- The changes impact Facebook’s ad business, which relies upon data tracking to inform its algorithm that decides how to personalize ads for each online user, but the firm said it also affects small businesses, which draw sales from targeted ads.
- This is the latest instance of Facebook and Apple sparring publicly — Apple accused the social media firm of showing a “disregard for user privacy” last month, and Facebook accused Apple of charging “monopoly rents” in its App Store.
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Facebook has taken out full-page ads in newspapers like The New York Times blasting Apple for its iOS 14 update, which includes privacy changes that will hamper Facebook’s ability to target ads at users, as Bloomberg reports.
As part of a delayed feature of Apple’s September software update, app developers will need to ask users for permission to collect and track their data across their devices starting in early 2021.
Those changes directly affect Facebook’s lucrative ad business, whose model relies upon data tracking to inform its algorithm of which ads to put in front of each online user.
In Facebook’s newspaper ads attacking Apple, it makes the argument that the changes will adversely impact small businesses since they rely on the platform’s ad network to drum up sales.
“Without personalized ads, Facebook data shows that the average small business advertiser stands to see a cut of over 60% in their sales for every dollar they spend,” reads one of Facebook’s ads, posted by Twitter user Dave Stangis. Facebook also acknowledges that the change impacts “larger companies like us,” but stresses that they will be “devastating” to smaller businesses.
—Dave Stangis (@DaveStangis) December 16, 2020
The ads have also run in the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. Facebook also launched a website about Apple’s software update featuring testimonies from small businesses across the US describing how the privacy changes will harm them and how they reach customers through ads on the platform.
Apple and Facebook did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment. Facebook plans to hold a press briefing today regarding the issue.
The ads come after Apple released new App Store privacy labels this week that tell users how apps are collecting data on them, including how Facebook’s iOS app tracks you and your personal information.
—Tom Warren (@tomwarren) December 16, 2020
This isn’t the first time Facebook has made such a jab at Apple. The two sparred in November when Apple accused Facebook of collecting “as much data as possible” and showing a “disregard for user privacy.” Facebook responded by accusing Apple of using its “dominant market position to self-preference their own data collection.” Apple has been accused of wielding an unfair advantage over third-party developers and beefing up its own apps and services.
“They claim it’s about privacy, but it’s about profit,” Facebook said in a statement at the time.
Read more: The battle between Facebook and Apple over privacy is about more than just ads — it’s about the future of how we interact with tech
Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, said at a data privacy conference last week that some companies will argue Apple’s new tracking guidelines would do more harm than good.
“We need the world to see those arguments for what they are: a brazen attempt to maintain the privacy-invasive status quo,” Federighi said at the conference.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also called out Apple’s controversial App Store policies in an August company-wide meeting, accusing the company of having a “stranglehold” on apps and charging “monopoly rents” in its store, thereby stifling competition. It also called Apple out for refusing to reduce its 30% App Store fee for a new Facebook feature in August that could have helped business owners during the pandemic.
User data privacy has been an issue at the center of scrutiny levied against Facebook, Apple, and other tech companies as public awareness of their internet platforms’ impact has sharpened into focus in recent years.
Lawmakers have begun to zero in on the industry and have questioned company executives over antitrust violations, privacy issues, and a bevy of other topics.
The US Federal Trade Commission on Monday ordered Facebook and eight other firms — excluding Apple — to share how they collect, track, and use online consumer data. The order is inquiring into how the companies track data and target online ads to consumers, whether they use algorithms to handle personal information, and how their online practices affect kids and teens.