The war between Facebook and Apple rolls on. This week Facebook took out a full page advertisement in a number of US newspapers bemoaning Apple's upcoming privacy change.
Let's just recap what Apple's change is going to do. Currently Facebook (and other advertising platforms) can track you across sites and apps at will. Facebook then uses that data to entice companies to use its advertising platforms, which in turn lines its own pockets. It does all this without your permission.
Apple is planning to intervene on its iOS platform so that when Facebook (and others) attempt to do this cross-site and cross-app tracking, you'll see a confirmation dialog like this:
Facebook can still track you, but you must now give it your informed permission before it will be allowed to do so.
This, I believe, is entirely sensible. Facebook should never have been able to track you without your permission in the first place. That it could do so was, in my opinion, an error; a hole in the process. Apple plans to plug this hole.
Facebook suspects a lot of people will not allow such tracking. They are correct in this respect. Many will be surprised Facebook was doing this without their permission in the first place.
The advert Facebook took out in the newspapers doesn't frame it in terms of their income being affected of course. They attempt a more emotive approach saying it will hurt small businesses — indeed, that it will devastate them — and that it will change the entire internet as we know it. They even try to capitalise on the Covid pandemic to pull some heart strings. The one thing you can be absolutely sure of, though, is that it's their bottom line they're really worried about.
Tim cook responded to Facebook's adverts on Twitter, saying:
We believe users should have the choice over the data that is being collected about them and how it’s used. Facebook can continue to track users across apps and websites as before, App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14 will just require that they ask for your permission first.
Quite so. I look forward to Apple implementing this.