Facebook says Apple's anti-tracking measures about 'profit, not privacy'

Mark Zuckerberg in front of the Facebook logo
Mark Zuckerberg in front of the Facebook logo (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Facebook has launched a new press release blasting upcoming iOS 14 changes that will make it harder to track users.
  • Facebook says the move is about profit for Apple and will hurt small businesses.

Facebook has added to its tirade against Apple's upcoming privacy measures with a scathing new press release stating the move is about "profit, not privacy."

In the post the company states:

Facebook is speaking up for small businesses. Apple's new iOS 14 policy will have a harmful impact on many small businesses that are struggling to stay afloat and on the free internet that we all rely on more than ever. Here is an overview of what Apple is doing and where we stand:

  1. They're creating a policy — enforced via iOS 14's AppTrackingTransparency — that's about profit, not privacy. It will force businesses to turn to subscriptions and other in-app payments for revenue, meaning Apple will profit and many free services will have to start charging or exit the market.
  2. They're hurting small businesses and publishers who are already struggling in a pandemic. These changes will directly affect their ability to use their advertising budgets efficiently and effectively. Our studies show, without personalized ads powered by their own data, small businesses could see a cut of over 60% of website sales from ads. We don't anticipate the proposed iOS 14 changes to cause a full loss of personalization but rather a move in that direction over the longer term.
  3. They're not playing by their own rules. Apple's own personalized ad platform isn't subject to the new iOS 14 policy.
  4. We disagree with Apple's approach, yet we have no choice but to show their prompt. If we don't, we'll face retaliation from Apple, which could only further harm the businesses we want to support. We can't take that risk.

Facebook says that Apple's iOS 14 update, designed to improve privacy by limiting the tracking of users, will impact small businesses who rely on advertising to make money. Facebook says that if these entrepreneurs and creators can't rely on advertising to make money then they will be forced to charge for subscriptions or in-app payments instead.

The report continues:

Apple announced the new iOS 14 AppTrackingTransparency policy under the banner of increased privacy for people, while actually pushing businesses and developers into a business model that benefits Apple's bottom line in two ways:Apple tax: If content creators have to turn to ways to make money outside of advertising, such as charging people for a subscription or in-app payments, those fees are subject to an Apple tax ranging from 15% to 30%. And this is big business: as Apple's hardware sales are slowing and they have to pivot to their services business, its App Store platform grossed around $50 billion in 2019. With these changes, Apple stands to profit even more from the App Store. In short, Apple's update changes mean more money for Apple and less free stuff for people. Apple's advertising business: Apple's policies leave very limited options for app developers to find customers through effective advertising, and conveniently, Apple's own advertising products is one of them. That's right, Apple's own personalized ad platform is exempt from the new prompt requirement they've imposed on other companies. By default, Apple uses data it collects — including in-app purchase data that Apple collects from within apps owned by other companies — to improve the efficacy of Apple's own ad products. And, if people don't want Apple using their data for ads, they'll have to go find the control deep within their iPhone settings.

The news follows a Facebook advertising campaign in which is blasted the move in several prominent newspapers with full-page ads.

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