Top line

Facebook warned Apple in a series of full-page newspaper ads on Wednesday that upcoming software changes to the iPhone – forcing apps to obtain user permission before tracking their personal information – are bad for small businesses and intensify the war on the Internet iPhone Maker for privacy and advertising issues.

Facebook has attacked Apple’s upcoming privacy features, arguing that it will do little harm … [+] Advertisers.


Key factors

In the ad, which appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post on Wednesday, Facebook claims: “We stand up for small businesses against Apple everywhere,” Bloomberg reported first.

The social media company claims that upcoming changes to the Apple iOS 14 operating system for iPhone will limit the ability of small businesses to serve personalized ads and reach customers effectively.

Citing its internal data, Facebook claims that ads that aren’t personalized generate 60% less revenue than those that are.

Facebook is unhappy with a planned change to the iPhone and iPad operating system that would require developers to ask users for permission to collect their personal information and track it across various mobile apps and websites.

Apple initially planned to roll out the tracking permissions feature along with the release of iOS 14 in September, but later delayed it until early 2021 to give companies more time to adapt their apps to the new feature.

Chief critic

In a tweet highlighting Apple’s newly implemented privacy labels, Verge’s Tom Warren wrote: “Apple shows how Facebook is tracking you with its iOS app”. A video highlights the breadth of Facebook’s data collection.

What to look for

In a blog post in August, Facebook said the new feature could result in a more than 50% decline in advertising on the Audience Network. Third-party developers can use the Audience Network to deliver targeted advertising in their apps based on data from Facebook. This process assumes that advertisers have access to a user’s unique device ID number. For the iOS update, each app must obtain the user’s permission if they want to use the identifier. While Facebook gets almost all of its ad revenue, it is unclear what portion of that ad revenue comes from the Audience Network, which is being disrupted by its function.

Key background

CEO Tim Cook’s attempt to rephrase Apple as an advocate for user privacy has put him on a collision course with Mark Zuckerberg’s $ 780 billion data-harvest advertising empire. The size of Facebook has uniquely made it possible to track user activity across multiple apps and websites, and this has made the company a giant in internet advertising. Apple’s move to block Facebook from accessing user activity outside of its app greatly reduces the effectiveness of its targeting tools and makes the ads significantly less effective. By raising awareness of Facebook, Google, and Amazon’s efforts to collect personal data, the iPhone maker has been able to target its biggest competitors while presenting itself as a bastion of privacy and increasing its challenge of reaching out to search, entertainment and payment companies participate.


Last week, Facebook’s own messaging app WhatsApp attacked Apple’s new privacy labels, another new feature for iOS 14. WhatsApp argued that the new App Store feature was unfair as it didn’t cover Apple’s pre-installed first-party apps including iMessage. While Apple announced the privacy label feature earlier this year, Apple likened it to nutrition labels on groceries, as every app in the App Store needs to display detailed information about what data is being collected from a user. WhatsApp told Axios, “We believe that labels for first- and third-party apps should be consistent and reflect the strong measures that apps can take to protect people’s private data.” The messaging app agreed that giving users easy-to-read privacy information was “a good start,” but added that “important people like these” privacy nutrition labels “of apps they download with apps preloaded iMessage can compare. ”

further reading

Facebook attacks Apple’s iOS changes in full-page newspaper ads (Bloomberg)