February 2, 2021

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Facebook to iPhone Users: When You Accept Data Tracking, a Small Business Gets Its Wings

Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

As Apple rolls out alerts inside iOS 14 that require people to opt in to app-based data tracking, Facebook preps its own alerts, which extol the benefits of personalized ads.

By Michael Kan

Apple’s iOS 14 will soon require every third-party app to ask your permission to track your web activities in order to serve tailored ads. It’s a change that’s expected to cause millions of iPhone owners to opt out of the data tracking. But guess who wants to convince you to opt in?

On Monday, Facebook said it’s working on a new notification for iOS 14 devices that’ll highlight the benefits of the data tracking—a major way the social network generates funding.

“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,” the company said.

Facebook plans on debuting the notifications alongside the iOS 14 privacy alerts, which will let you decide to opt into an app’s data tracking or opt out. “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,” the social network said.

Facebook decided to create the notifications, citing how the upcoming privacy alerts on iOS 14 say nothing about the benefits of personalized ads. As a result, the company fears that many iPhone owners will block the data-collection efforts.

According to Facebook, the big loser will be small businesses that rely on the social network to serve targeted ads to reach interested customers. “In testing we’ve seen publishers experience more than a 50% drop in revenue when personalization was removed from mobile app ad install campaigns,” Facebook said in December. Free mobile apps that rely on online advertising also risk seeing their funds dry up.

The other loser is Facebook itself; without the precise ad targeting, businesses may decide to skip the social network’s marketing products for other competing services.

Facebook is framing the whole issue as bad for the free internet. However, the company neglects to mention its notorious record on mishandling users’ data, which has caused trust in the social network to plummet. Last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook also condemned companies like Facebook for infringing on people’s privacy while radicalizing users with extreme content.

“Technology does not need vast troves of personal data, stitched together across dozens of websites and apps, in order to succeed,” Cook said in a speech. “Advertising existed and thrived for decades without it.”

Originally published at https://www.pcmag.com.


Facebook to iPhone Users: When You Accept Data Tracking, a Small Business Gets Its Wings was originally published in PC Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.