Facebook's own employees are pushing back on its attacks against Apple

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's own employees have expressed concern about its recent attack ad campaign against Apple.
  • Employees questioned if the campaign would be seen as self-serving and backfire.

Reported by Buzzfeed News, some of Facebook's own employees don't believe that the company's recent attack on Apple is justified.

One Facebook engineer responded to Facebook Vice President Dan Levy saying that it felt like the company was attempting to "justify doing a bad thing."

"It feels like we are trying to justify doing a bad thing by hiding behind people with a sympathetic message," one engineer wrote in response to an internal post about the campaign from Dan Levy, Facebook's vice president for ads.

Another employee worried that the company's attack ads would backfire and be seen as Facebook looking out for its own business instead of small businesses.

"Aren't we worried that our stance protecting [small- and medium-sized businesses] will backfire as people see it as 'FB protecting their own business' instead?" read one top-voted question.

App Store Privacy Labels App Store

App Store Privacy Labels App Store (Image credit: Apple)

One employee said the obvious: people want privacy, and pushing against it was a mistake.

"People want 'privacy,'" read another. "FB objecting here will be viewed with cynicism. Did we know this would be bad PR, & decide to publish anyway?"

Facebook vice president of product marketing Graham Mudd doubled down on the impact that Apple's new privacy labels will have on small businesses.

"We're not trying to sweep that under the rug," said Mudd. "We are, you know, a profitable, big company and we're going to get through this and adapt our products and so forth. But the real folks that are going to get hit by this are small businesses, and that's why we made them the focus of the message."

In response to employees asking why Facebook didn't go another route and try to be more forthright with its users and make opt-in extremely compelling, Mudd said that this was "Apple's marketing working and convincing you to scapegoat us."

"That's Apple's marketing working and convincing you to scapegoat us so they can decide how the internet should work — even beyond their devices," he wrote. "I'm an optimist who works in technology because I think tech can be a lever for democratizing access and giving opportunity. Including for businesses. And if you think this is going to stop with personalized ads . . . well, then I disagree."

Last week, Facebook launched an attack ad campaign against Apple's new privacy features in iOS 14 that requires users to opt-in to tracking from apps. It also now displays privacy information on apps in the App Store that shows how much data an app collects and uses to track you. The move by Facebook, like many of its own employees expected, has received criticism by many companies and organizations in the technology community.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.