Facebook pays for study that says Apple's iOS 14 privacy changes are bad

Facebook (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Facebook has paid for a paper researching Apple's iOS 14 privacy and tracking transparency measures.
  • The paper says that Apple's changes are anti-competitive and designed only to benefit Apple.
  • It also says the new moves harm everyone else, but users are voting in droves to opt-out of tracking.

Facebook has funded a paper on Apple's new iOS 14 App Tracking Transparency changes which states they are designed to only benefit Apple.

The paper's abstract states:

Apple's iOS 14 update represents an anti-competitive strategy disguised as a privacy-protecting measure. Apple now prohibits non-Apple apps from using information essential to providing relevant, personalized advertising, without explicit user opt-in. And users may opt-in only after they are shown an ominous and misleading prompt about "tracking," one that Apple's own apps and services need not display, because consumers are automatically "opted in" to Apple's own tracking. Apple's policy will have the pernicious effects of enhancing the dominance of iOS among mobile operating systems and the dominance of its own apps and services within the iOS ecosystem, while reducing consumer choice and devastating the free-app ecosystem.

The paper is a scathing denunciation of Apple's iOS 14 changes, a blanket condemnation of the policy that seems almost irrefutable. Except that on the first page a small footnote states:

Huber C. Hurst Eminent Scholar Chair in Law and Professor, University of Florida Levin College of Law and Piramal Associate Professor of Business Administration, HBS. We gratefully acknowledge support from Facebook, Inc. in funding this analysis. The views expressed here are solely our own.

Facebook has been an ardent critic of Apple's changes, stating they will harm small businesses and advertising revenue on its platform, sentiments echoed in the report. Research conducted by iMore in April reveals that only 2% of iOS users plan to allow apps to track them now that the new opt-in feature is available, suggesting the vast majority of users support having more control over their privacy. You can read the paper commissioned by Facebook here.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9