Facebook Criticising Apple’s iOS 14 Privacy Changes is a Hypocrisy

This article is also published on Medium.During WWDC 2020, Apple had announced a new iOS 14 privacy-based feature that sent chills down the spine of advertisement agencies.

Specifically, there’s a new AppTrackingTransparency framework introduced with iOS 14 which renders the unique advertising identifier useless.

This means advertisement agencies can no longer track users across apps and websites without their consent.

At the moment, over 100K apps on the App Store use the Facebook SDK to track user activity, run campaigns, record ad clicks, usage time, and subsequently serve personalized advertisements. Understandably Facebook pays them a huge share

But with iOS 14 advertisement agencies are about to stare at diminished returns since they would no longer be able to track a single user as effectively.

This led to an outcry by Facebook a few months back. They called it a foul play. Given the times we’re in and the fact that this is a major change, Apple obliged and gave developers and marketers more time to get ready for the changes.

Now, with the deadline to ship apps with the new privacy-focused SKAdNetwork framework only a month away, Facebook is trying to sabotage it by running campaigns to pressurize Apple into postponing the new iOS 14 privacy feature.

Facebook is rolling out newspaper ads to attack Apple

Only recently, Facebook doubled down on its marketing campaign against Apple.

The social media giant rolled out full-page ads across popular publishing houses such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and more.

Ironically, the headline of the ad states: “We’re standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere”.

According to Facebook, “over 40 percent of small to medium businesses are using personalized ads today”. And the new iOS 14 privacy features threaten to kill those businesses by causing a revenue drop of as much as 60 percent per dollar.

For noobs and non-techies, it may seem as Facebook is the savior since Apple is being projected as the antagonist here.

But the marketing stunt is only one side of the story. There’s a lot more than what meets the eye and Facebook is clearly omitting the truth.

For one, it’s worth knowing that Apple isn’t blocking Facebook from targeting users for personalized ads. Instead, they’re only giving the user an option — whether or not they want to be tracked.

But Facebook perceives this feature as Apple’s way of killing their billion-dollar ad empire as it spreads awareness about data privacy amongst users. This is why Facebook is crying foul play and attacking Apple since the WWDC 2020 event.

But Facebook’s marketing campaign is terribly, laughably wrong

Facebook has been accusing Apple of playing double standards with privacy. The social media giant claims that the iPhone maker is leveraging privacy for their own profitability and to keep a hold over its App Store monopoly.

But the manner in which Facebook is projecting their anti-Apple campaign through the “they will hurt small businesses” slogan is terribly, laughably wrong.

Calling their move cynical won’t be an overstatement since it’s pretty clear that Facebook isn’t worried about small businesses. Instead, they’re concerned that they won’t be able to mint as much money since from those advertisement agencies that now might begin looking elsewhere.

The most bewildering thing is that a company that’s widely using shady business tactics, makes profits off user data, and is long known for its “copy, buy or kill” strategy against booming startups is actually hoping to rile up everyone against Apple, a consumer-focused trillion-dollar firm.

Just because Facebook could get away with app privacy measures a decade back and managed to build an ad-empire out of abusing free data, doesn’t mean that they can continue to do so.

Attacking Apple through such campaigns only shows how less Facebook actually cares about user’s privacy. In fact, it clearly portrays that Facebook is only interested in retaining and monetizing off the user’s personal data to preserve their monopoly.

This makes Facebook's move to evoke compassion for small businesses a shrewd way to protect their own best interests — which is indeed a quintessential case of hypocrisy.

Worse, Facebook has launched this campaign at a time when they find themselves already embroiled in the biggest antitrust lawsuit of the decade. The timing of this factless marketing move couldn’t have been poor.

Conclusion

The biggest takeaway from this feud is that Google has surprisingly stayed silent all along.It’s a no brainer that the search engine giant will be compelled to bring a similar anti-ad tracking feature on Android to keep the mobile ecosystem in sync.

This makes Facebook’s whole fight against Apple a losing cause already. As the two leading mobile operating systems will continue to double down on data transparency, Facebook’s access to user data would be curtailed significantly.

It won’t be dramatic to state that Apple’s new opt-in popup permission dialog will cripple Facebook’s advertisement business and push them into oblivion.

That’s it for this one. Thanks for reading.

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