Facebook Uses Old School Medium To Attack Apple's iOS 14 Privacy Crackdown

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The relationship between Facebook and Apple has become quite tense over the last couple of years. The two companies have battled over their various policies and typically rely on the internet to criticize each other. However, Facebook has recently taken a rather old school approach to air their grievances. Facebook has placed ads in newspapers that lambast Apple’s upcoming data gathering policy.

The ads have appeared in newspapers such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post and are targeted at Apple’s policy changes. According to Apple, “Apps will be required to receive user permission to track users across apps or websites owned by other companies, or to access the device’s advertising identifier.” This change would limit the use of targeted ads and help users to better understand what data of theirs will be tracked before they download an app. Developers will also need to be more explicit about their privacy policies and identify all the data that they and their third-party partners collect. The new policy was supposed to go into effect alongside the launch of iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and tvOS 14 this past September, but has been delayed until early next year. The delay is intended to provide developers more time to comply with the change.
Facebook’s newspaper ad is entitled “We’re standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere” and insists that Apple’s data gathering policy change is harmful to small businesses There are reportedly more than ten million businesses that take advantage of Facebook’s advertising features. The ad claims that 44% of small to medium-sized businesses bumped up their use of targeted ads on social media during the pandemic and that these businesses may lose over 60% in their sales for every dollar they spend if they cannot use targeted ads. Facebook contends that the policy change will make it more difficult for businesses to reach consumers. They also claim that the timing of this change is unfair given the other issues that small to medium-sized businesses have faced during the current health crisis.

Apple has not directly responded to the newspaper ads but they have made their point of view well known. They have previously argued that Facebook collects as much data as possible and “disregards” users' privacy. They have also threatened to expel developers from their App Store if they track users without permission. It will be interesting to see if Apple starts their own newspaper ad campaign or if they will refuse to engage with Facebook’s attempts to paint them as a villain.