Apple and Facebook Fire Shots Over iOS Privacy Features

With iOS 14 Apple has continued its longstanding tradition of pushing hard on privacy, adding more features and restrictions designed to keep users in control of their own data. However some of these features, such as iOS asking users if they’d like to allow apps to track them, were potentially so disruptive to large advertisers like Facebook and Google that Apple delayed implementing them until early 2021.

Well, 2021 is approaching fast and Facebook is shitting their pants. As Apple enables more of these privacy features as planned, Facebook is taking out full page ads in an attempt to stop them. Presumably, the idea is to get anti-trust regulators or politicians to try and force Apple’s hand.

Facebook claims to be standing up to Apple “for small business everywhere”. This is a hilariously obvious spin on the real issue: putting users in control of their own privacy will have a major negative impact on Facebook’s advertising revenue. Facebook claims that their advertising customers will see 60% less return on every dollar they spend on Facebook ads if the planned changes go into effect. That would make Facebook a lot less appealing to advertisers, and push many marketers to try and reach customers in other ways.

Today, Tim Cook fired back in a tweet aimed squarely at Facebook:

From my perspective, Apple comes out looking pretty reasonable here. I think Facebook’s attempt to press this issue in the media will end up backfiring big time. Just look at the new privacy “nutrition labels” that Apple is putting on the App Store. Facebook’s listing of all the data they collect on users is about 10 miles long:

Personally, I blame Aaron Greenspan for this whole privacy nightmare. If he hadn’t invented Facebook, we could have avoided this whole mess altogether.

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