Thursday, Jan 28, 2021 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Facebook May Sue Over App Tracking Transparency

Juli Clover:

Facebook today shared its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2020, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s opening remarks were focused on Apple’s upcoming anti-tracking privacy changes that will impact the advertising industry and companies like Facebook that rely heavily on online advertising.

As highlighted by The Washington Post, Zuckerberg claimed that Apple is changing its privacy policy not to help people, but to further its own interests.

Apple:

Late last year, to give you additional time to prepare, we had temporarily deferred the requirement to use AppTrackingTransparency when requesting permission to track users and access device advertising identifiers. This requirement now goes into effect starting with the upcoming beta update, and will roll out to everyone in early spring with an upcoming release of iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and tvOS 14.

Chance Miller (Hacker News):

Facebook is reportedly planning to take its long-running battle with Apple to the courts. The Information reports that Facebook has been working with outside legal counsel to prepare an antitrust lawsuit against Apple alleging that the company “abused its power in the smartphone market by forcing app developers to abide by App Store rules that Apple’s own apps don’t have to follow.”

[…]

The report cautions, however, that Facebook might not end up filing the antitrust lawsuit against Apple. In fact, Facebook executives are said to be “facing internal resistance” from employees about the gearing up against Apple.

Previously:

Update (2021-02-05): Sara Fischer (via Hacker News):

Facebook is testing a notification that notifies Apple iOS users about ways the tech giant uses their data to target personalized ads to them.

Update (2021-03-14): Bobby Allyn (via Hacker News):

Zuckerberg has long said the only way to build a social network that connects billions of people is for the platform to be free to use and supported by advertising. It is often said that when a tech service is “free,” users pay mightily with their data. And that is the case with Facebook, which compiles its own portrait of its users through granular behavior tracking and also has a lucrative business of selling data to third-parties, like data brokers and advertisers.

[…]

“I think Facebook is worrying about, ‘This is just a first step for Apple. What could be in the next one to two years if they further put the clamps down around data privacy as well as advertising?’” he said. “Apple knows in this regulatory environment, not being flexible on privacy is ultimately going to be come down on their side.”

Juli Clover:

App Tracking Transparency will threaten Facebook’s view-through conversion tracking, a metric that lets ad companies figure out how many people saw an ad, didn’t click it, but later made a purchase related to the ad. Retailers can record the info of the person who bought an item and then share it with Facebook, with Facebook able to determine whether that person’s IDFA matches with a user who saw an ad for the product purchased.

CNBC says that the loss of this info could heavily impact Facebook because if advertisers can’t accurately measure the effectiveness of Instagram and Facebook ads, they might shift more of their budget to other apps and services.

Facebook’s Audience Network, which provides advertisements in non-Facebook apps, will also be impacted because it uses IDFA data to choose the best ads to show to users based on Facebook data. If users opt out of sharing the IDFA, Facebook’s ad personalization efforts will be rendered useless outside of its own apps.

Update (2021-03-22): Juli Clover:

“It’s possible that we may even be in a stronger position if Apple’s changes encourage more businesses to conduct more commerce on our platforms by making it harder for them to use their data in order to find the customers that would want to use their products outside of our platforms,” Zuckerberg said in a Clubhouse meeting this afternoon.

1 Comment

alleging that the company “abused its power in the smartphone market by forcing app developers to abide by App Store rules that Apple’s own apps don’t have to follow.”

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