Today, Facebook printed ads against Apple’s upcoming ATT (App Tracking Transparency) privacy feature in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. The social media giant states that it is fighting for small business as the new ATT privacy feature will end developers or apps’ unwarranted tracking of users’ activity across other apps and websites. Since ATT is an iOS feature, it will end IDFA (Identifiers for Advertisers) tracking on over a billion devices and that number alone upsets Facebook.
The ATT privacy update was announced at the WWDC 2020 event which is designed to give users control over their information and ensures their privacy by ending invasive tracking. However, the launch of the feature was postponed to early 2021 because of developers and advertisers’ objections like Facebook. Although Apple has delayed the ATT privacy update, it has categorically stated that the update will be pushed in 2021 and everyone who wishes to stay in Apple’s iOS digital marketplace has to comply. And that assurance has now instigated this ad campaign by Facebook.
Facebook attacks Apple over the upcoming ATT privacy feature
The and titled “We’re standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere”, published in three leading newspapers, claims to be fighting for small business by opposing the upcoming users’ privacy feature. Quoting its own data, Facebook claims that small businesses will be adversely affected by the ATT privacy update because the social platform will not be able to run targeted advertisements. However, the social media company fails to see the invasion of users’ privacy and exploitation of their personal data and space in running those targeted ads.
Many Digital and Human rights organizations have not only applauded Apple’s efforts to protect users’ privacy but have also expressed concerns over the delay or cancellation of the ATT privacy update under pressure by giants like Facebook in an open letter to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook. For now, Apple does not seem deterred from its launch of the new feature for in its response to that letter, the company reiterated its commitment to protecting users data, and recently the company’s software head Craig Federighi said that privacy is a “fundamental human right” and reinforced that in 2021 ATT will be part of all apps on the App Store.
This is not the first time Facebook has attacked Apple on the pretext of fighting for small businesses. Previously it called the App Store a 30% commission rate “Apple Tax” which is burdening small businesses, especially during COVID-19. Apple appeased that criticism by cutting the commission rate in half, 15%, for developers who earn equal to or less than $1 million per year after deducting App Store’s fee.
Whatever Facebook may call it, the general public is not buying it. Users took to Twitter to criticize the ad campaign.
Of all the things I didn’t expect to see in 2020, Facebook openly crying about not being able to quietly steal and monetize your private data is definitely in the Top5
— Jad Khoury (@JadKhy) December 16, 2020
Federal and regulators from 46 states in the United States have filed anti-trust lawsuits against Facebook over its “acquire and kill” business strategy to crush smaller developers and eliminate competition. The EU regulators are also pushing to pass harsher laws to limit the power of Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon in the region. Therefore, I personally believe that it was not a good time for Facebook to run this ad campaign which shows it does not care about users’ privacy.
Publically calling out Facebook, Mozilla Foundation, founder of Mozilla Firefox, is asking iOS users to send Apple message of thanks for ATT privacy feature so the iPhone maker can fight pressure from advertisers and release the update.
What are your thoughts on this, let us know in the comments section.