Alibaba joins Facebook in worrying about iOS 14.5's new privacy feature

Apple Ios Update Privacy Controls
Apple Ios Update Privacy Controls (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Alibaba makes a huge amount of money from ads, and it's worried Apple's iOS 14.5 update will impact that revenue.
  • The company invited marketing executives to help work out what to do.

Apple's recently released iOS 14.5 update ads support for App Tracking Transparency, or ATT. That means that users will need to give their permission before companies can track their actions and Chinese outfit Alibaba is worried that they won't. Really worried.

According to a report by The Information, Alibaba is so concerned that iOS 14.5 could hit its bottom line that it invited half a dozen executives to help thrash out a plan for how to deal with it.

Last week, Alibaba invited half a dozen marketing industry executives to discuss a growing worry: Apple's new privacy policy on its mobile software threatens to cut off the Chinese e-commerce giant and its advertising partners from troves of user data that fuel the company's all-important ad business.The private meeting at Alibaba headquarters in Hangzhou was a chance for the company to explore how to protect one of its biggest sources of revenue from mounting external pressure.

Despite that summit, it seems Alibaba hasn't been able to decide what the best course of action is. There are more than 300 million iPhones being used in China right now and Alibaba needs to be able to track what those users are doing if it is to sell ads based on that data. If people don't give their permission, it loses the data it needs.

It's a similar situation that Facebook has found itself in and it too has concerns. Apple doesn't, however, staying steadfast with its stance that user privacy is most important.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.