Apple OS privacy updates are about to go into effect, but Facebook and others are still fighting.
Long-awaited iOS privacy updates arrive today (April 26) and are expected to exacerbate tensions between Apple and Facebook once again.
Basically, the change in functionality will allow users to prevent apps from collecting their data. This opened a gap between Apple and other services, specifically Facebook, which rely on collecting user data to create effective ads.
New iOS 14.5 arriving this week disables the so-called IDFA, or Advertiser ID, by default.
Developers use IDFA as a way to monitor ad performance and target ads to users.
Ultimately, the move will reduce the way Facebook monitors its users on its apps and how they interact with other services, and thus hinders how advertisers can track users and see what interests them.
By keeping IDFA disabled by default, apps will need to explicitly require users to enable it and allow data collection. Facebook will offer a prompt asking users if they agree, but according to surveys conducted by Facebook, most users will choose no.
It removes a portion of unintended consent to data collection in some apps where users are not aware that the data is being collected by default.
The new feature, dubbed App Tracking Transparency, has been in the works for some time and was originally scheduled to be rolled out in the latest iOS update, but has been delayed.
Its access poses a huge challenge to Facebook and its business model – it brought in $ 84 billion in advertising revenue last year.
Confidentiality versus competition
Of all the tech giants, Apple has managed to take the strongest position on privacy, as its business has been primarily driven by the sale of devices and services. It is not data dependent as Facebook does.
This economic divergence put Apple and Facebook on a collision course.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg targeted Apple in January, saying the company’s changes to IDFA were driven by competition rather than privacy concerns.
“Apple could say it’s doing this to help people,” the Facebook chief said in the results call, “but it’s clear the movements are tracking their competitive interests.”
This was Facebook’s last hit. He had claimed that claims to run ad tracking would harm small businesses and took one-page press ads to denounce the changes.
Facebook has been the most outspoken in its criticism of Apple, but it isn’t the only one. Today, a host of German technology and media companies, including Axel Springer, filed an antitrust complaint against Apple, saying the privacy changes would unduly harm its advertising business.
The organizers have noted the disagreement. In February, European Union competition chief Margrethe Vestager said that if the issue is privacy, there could be violations of competition law if Apple creates an environment in which certain apps are handled differently from other apps or if Apple’s own apps are preferred.
Separately, Apple today announced that it is investing $ 1 billion in a new campus in North Carolina for 3,000 employees, along with a $ 80 billion commitment to invest in other parts of the United States. Apple CEO Tim Cook said the investments would reach “communities in all 50 states”.