Facebook Takes a Bite Out of Apple

The privacy wars have gotten so intense between Apple and Facebook that they have begun to reveal each other’s true intentions. iPhone maker Apple is planning to add an update that will give users the ability to stop applications from tracking their activity online. Not only will this affect tracking on the application, but it will also affect track the tracking of their activity across multiple platforms and websites. 

Facebook’s Concerns

  1. Facebook made almost all of its revenue ($86B in 2020) from advertising (97%). So it’s safe to say that targeted ads are pretty important for them. 
  2. Facebook is afraid of opt-out because of its reputation. Cambridge Analytica was a prime example of when Facebook lost the trust of a lot of users.
  3. Facebook has a very recent history of censoring politicians 

Many people don’t realize that they’re being tracked, sometimes the agreements are worded so elegantly or just so deep in the terms and conditions that they accept them without thinking. Others know they’ll be tracked anyway but might feel inclined to opt-out when given a chance. After all, not many people will willingly give up their privacy for fun. 

Apple’s Perspective

In early September of 2020, privacy ads started to roll out from apple. Their plan to incorporate these security measures into IOS 14 was planned far in advance. These convincing ads were without doubt calculated steps to show everyone that they’re on the public’s side.Facebook has responded in a number of ways. They brought to light how small businesses will be impacted by this IOS 14 update. Facebook even created a website dedicated to the education of the connection between personalized ads and small businesses. 

Dan Levy, who runs Facebook’s ad business, said in a blog post that Apple’s policy change is “about profit, not privacy.” He said the iOS change will only help Apple’s pockets get bigger. When users opt-out, some apps will be forced to have in-app purchases. This would inevitably lead to the Apple store getting their 30% cut. 

Where do they go from here?

In conclusion, what could the future hold for these companies? While thinking of this, I am reminded of the competition between streaming services. Exclusivity is a great way to rake in consumers. Users will choose Netflix or Hulu because their favorite shows are only on those platforms. Who says this isn’t plausible for Facebook and Apple? Would Facebook be bold enough to only have their app available on an android device? Most likely not. Targeted ads are not necessarily essential. 

“Lead generation ads won’t be changed.” Alex Andrews, Executive Director of Social Advertising at Mckay Advertising + Activation said. “Traffic campaigns, event response, and social media engagement campaigns won’t be changed. There are other effective ways to advertise that don’t necessarily rely on conversion pixel attribution.” 

Snapchat has communicated to Apple that this could very well hinder the advertising business, but the fourth-quarter revenues have exceeded the expert’s expectations. Other platforms like Twitter have addressed their grievances but have not been as expressive as Facebook according to cnet.