Facebook is about to annoy iPhone users with pop-ups to get ad tracking consent

In what seems like the next step by Facebook in its quest to become everyone’s favorite social media company, it will start intrusive full-screen pop-ups to Facebook and Instagram users to get their consent for ad tracking. It is somewhat ironic that the best way that Facebook could find to get user consent for ad tracking is one of the biggest things that annoy Internet users: pop-ups.

The pop-up, which will start showing in a future update for iOS 14 users, will explain to users that they can get personalized ads and ‘support businesses’ that rely on ads to reach customers (because Facebook killed their organic growth), by allowing Facebook to track app and website activity. Users will have the option to either allow or disallow tracking on iPhone in the pop-up. It is important to note that not allowing tracking permissions here does not mean that Facebook will stop tracking you elsewhere. It will still be business as usual on other platforms like desktop operating systems and Android smartphones as they are not as restrictive when it comes to tracking, yet.

Facebook pop-up

A new pop-up in Facebook and Instagram on iPhone will ask for ad tracking permission

Facebook has accompanied the above mock-up of the pop-up with an update to its blog post where it went on an offensive against Apple. The company notes that it still disagrees with Apple’s App Tracking Transparency update and that it provides a ‘tradeoff’ between privacy and targeted ads:

As we shared in December, we disagree with Apple’s approach, but will be showing their prompt to ensure stability for the businesses and people who use our services. Apple’s new prompt suggests there is a tradeoff between personalized advertising and privacy; when in fact, we can and do provide both. The Apple prompt also provides no context about the benefits of personalized ads.

After posting a few ads in newspapers, the company seems to have worked out a solution which it believes will educate users on why they should provide access to Facebook to track app and website activity. Just like before, Facebook is playing along the lines of how this will help small businesses, while clearly forgetting to mention that it intentionally reduced their organic reach to force them to pay money to reach their customers.

To help people make a more informed decision, we’re also showing a screen of our own, along with Apple’s. It will provide more information about how we use personalized ads, which support small businesses and keep apps free. If you accept the prompts for Facebook and Instagram, the ads you see on those apps won’t change. If you decline, you will still see ads, but they will be less relevant to you. Agreeing to these prompts doesn’t result in Facebook collecting new types of data. It just means that we can continue to give people better experiences. We feel that people deserve the additional context, and Apple has said that providing education is allowed.

Although Facebook mentions that Apple allows providing education, it seems clear that this is exactly what Apple wants apps to do. Tell them what they will do with their data. However, It seems unlikely that many users would want to give Facebook access to their app and website activity when it is written in clear simple English.

Apple CEO recently implied that Facebook’s business model translates to real-world violence, while Mark Zuckerberg and co. prepare to file an anti-trust lawsuit against Apple, claiming that upcoming iOS 14 privacy changes are anti-competitive and self-serving. Meanwhile, Zuckerberg’s Facebook is facing antitrust lawsuits from U.S. Federal and 46 state regulators.

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