In this file photo taken on Tuesday, August 21, 2018, a Facebook home page is displayed on a smartphone in … [+] Surfside, Fla. UNITED STATES. Social media giant Facebook announced late on Wednesday, August 22, 2018 that it had banned a quiz app because it refused to be checked and it feared data from up to 4 million users was being misused after it was discovered that user information was leaked to researchers and businesses. (AP Photo / Wilfredo Lee, FILE)


Apple and Facebook, two of the biggest names in big tech, don’t really like each other. When big monopolies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi or Wendy’s and KFC argue, it is usually because they are direct competitors. Not so with Facebook and Apple, where the former generate the lion’s share of profits from advertising and the latter from device sales and app store hustle and bustle.

No, this feud is based on philosophy and control.

What has happened lately to ignite flames between Apple and Facebook?

This summer, Apple announced that the new iOS14 update released this fall would give users more control over their data by introducing a feature called App Tracking Transparency. For the new feature, developers would have to ask users if they would like to opt to share data with developers like Facebook, who usually collect unique device identification information (IDFA) from iPhones to create targeted, personalized ads. This is Facebook’s bread and butter.

Facebook immediately criticized Apple for making the change, accusing the iGiant of harming small businesses. Indeed, smaller developers have complained that they need more time to adapt to an ad world without such full access to users’ personal information. Last week, Apple announced that it would postpone the changes until next year to accommodate developers.

A gossip follows

Apple’s Jane Horvath wrote an open letter to civil rights groups last week defending the delay in inflicting a blow on Zuckerberg and Facebook for collecting as much user data as possible.

“This disregard for user privacy continues to grow,” wrote Horvath.

“We have evolved [App Tracking Transparency] for one reason only: because we share your concerns about tracking users without their consent and the pooling and reselling of data by ad networks and data brokers. “

Like a nerdy ice cube that comes up with the diss track “No Vaseline” for NWA, Facebook made its own statement, accusing Apple of “using their dominant position to prefer their own data collection itself while doing so for its competitors It’s almost impossible to use the same data … They say it’s about data protection – but it’s about profit. “

So who is right?

Germany Munich Security Conference

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg speaks on the second day of the Munich Security Conference in Munich, … [+] Germany, Saturday, February 15, 2020. (AP Photo / Jens Meyer)


The most generous way to interpret Facebook’s positioning here is to say that the data collected by IDFAs, small and medium-sized businesses, which make up the majority of Facebook’s 10 million advertisers, are growing through targeted ads and weathering the recent economic downturn . To give Apple the benefit of the doubt, look at how the company has historically been a strong advocate of user privacy, which IDFAs say poses a threat.

“Tracking can be invasive or even creepy, and most of the time it takes place without meaningful awareness or consent from users,” wrote Horvath. “What some companies refer to as ‘personalized experiences’ are often disguised attempts to collect as much data as possible about individuals, create extensive profiles on them, and then monetize those profiles.”

Facebook reckoned that Apple’s iOS14 changes would reduce Audience Network sales by up to 50%. It’s unclear how much of Apple’s Audience Network revenue is, but as of Q3 2020, Facebook’s total ad revenue reached $ 21 billion. Other sources of income generated only $ 249 million. This shows just how much Facebook relies on advertising for profit and fears that Apple could dominate that market.

“We will not be fooled,” replied Facebook to Horvath’s letter. “This is all part of a transformation of the Apple business from innovative hardware products to data-driven software and media.”

Is Facebook just paranoid?

Keynote speaker at the 2019 Dreamforce Conference

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc., speaks during a keynote speech at DreamForce 2019 … [+] Conference in San Francisco, California, USA, on Tuesday, November 19, 2019. Inc.’s annual software conference, where new products are introduced and social engagement is discussed, was interrupted for the second time in a year of dispute through protests against the company’s work with the US government. Photographer: David Paul Morris / Bloomberg

© 2019 Bloomberg Finance LP

Last year, Apple blocked Facebook’s access to apps and updates running on its iPhone software in response to Facebook’s violation of Apple rules by publicly distributing a research app that used the online -Activities of the users could be monitored. This action excluded the 35,000 Facebook employees from the internal iPhone apps, hampered their workflow and shut down Workplace and Messenger.

Apple eventually restored access, but the message was not lost on Zuckerberg. Facebook may be the largest social network in the world, but Apple controls the distribution of apps on its phones. And for someone like Zuckerberg – a man who idolizes the Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar so much that he is even supposed to imitate the ruler’s haircut – being out of control is a great threat.

However, Morgan Stanley predicts that Apple’s advertising revenue will grow sharply in the next few years compared to the small percentage it accounts for today. Is Apple strategically preventing Facebook from collecting user data so it can hoard everything for itself?

That certainly seems like something a monopoly would do, and in fact, Apple is facing legal action to treat developers who rely on its dominant app store. And, as Zuckerberg pointed out, how much can Apple really care about its customers when it sells such expensive products?

But again, all of Apple’s shit is about protecting user privacy, and it has always been that way. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs reportedly warned Facebook about data protection back in 2010. Today, the company’s ads will show how Apple keeps even your most embarrassing Google searches private. Stepping back on this stance would not fit Apple’s brand image.

What will the results of this conflict be?

Despite the fact that Apple and Facebook should somehow rely on each other and have a close working relationship, the philosophical differences between the companies have led the two to criticize each other for years. But until now it has only been arguing.

When Apple launches its App Tracking Transparency feature next year, that argument might turn into fists – that is, if the general cognitive dissonance of the mostly data-apathetic population is even shaken by the new feature. It doesn’t seem like Facebook can do much to get revenge, but give it time. An animal pushed into a corner always finds a way.