Nick Clegg, Head of Global Affairs at Facebook (now called Meta) criticized Apple’s ATT privacy feature. Speaking at the Web Summit technology conference in Lisbon, Portugal, he said that Apple is exploiting its dominant market position and its power of iOS by implementing rules which favor the Cupertino tech giant.
App Tracking Transparency (ATT) privacy feature was introduced in iOS 14.5 which mandates developers to seek permission before tracking iPhone users’ online activity across third-party apps and websites. The feature inherent gives users control over their data and privacy by opting in or out of tracking. Apple recently reported that users’ response to the ATT privacy feature has been “overwhelmingly positive“. But for apps like Facebook which heavily relies on tracking users to show targeted ads are unhappy with the iOS privacy changes.
Facebook calls Apple’s ATT privacy feature “an old-fashioned commercial land grab”
The Times reports that Sir Nick Clegg accused Apple of double standards and said the company is abusing its power on the pretext of protecting users’ privacy.
“This is an old-fashioned commercial land grab where they are using their dominant position in one of the leading operating systems to tilt the scales in their favour. It’s absolutely not some highfalutin’, high-minded reason,” he continued. “We think this is a flagrant example of double standards.”
Knowing its digital advertising business was at stake, Facebook’s parent company Meta never wholeheartedly accepted Apple’s privacy changes. After its failed anti-ATT ad campaign to persuade the public against the change, Facebook said the impact of ATT’s privacy feature was manageable. In Q2 2021, the social media giant reported a record $29 billion in revenue, which is a 56% year-over-year growth, despite ATT privacy changes.
But the company has started its campaign against ATT privacy feature after reporting $29 billion ad revenue in Q4 2021. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that “as expected, we did experience revenue headwinds this quarter, including from Apple’s changes that are not only negatively affecting our business but millions of small businesses in what is already a difficult time for them in the economy.”
Meta (former Facebook) is slammed for its invasive tracking practices. Signal highlighted that Meta-owned platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp show very personalized ads by gaining access to users’ private information. It accused Facebook of “building technology for you, they’re building technology of your data” and not being transparent about how that data is used.