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Who cares if App Store privacy labels make apps look bad? Nobody, in the case of Facebook

Apple iPhone Privacy Ad
Apple iPhone Privacy Ad (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple's new App Store privacy labels are here, and apps are as bad as we thought.
  • But who will care enough to act on the information they're being shown?

Apple's shiny new App Store privacy labels are here and we're all checking the apps we use the most to see how they fare. One hugely popular app has already fallen foul to the new labels – Facebook. It will surely be no surprise to anyone that Zuck's company is collecting data like a fishing trawler collects fish, but the new labels make it patently obvious to everyone.

But what will they do with that information?

It can surely be no surprise to anyone that Facebook is a bad actor at this point, and privacy labels in the App Store won't change any opinions there. Especially when you remember that people likely already have it installed, so will never see the labels anyway. Your crazy neighbor isn't going to stop posting 5G conspiracy theories to Facebook because the App Store says it's bad, after all.

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But not all apps are Facebook. Some will be collecting a ton of data and tracking users left and right without the clout of a Facebook or Google. It's those apps that could be impacted here. And rightly so. Facebook isn't going to change its business model overnight, but if Apple can push smaller apps, developers, and companies to play nicely – otherwise risk losing users – it will still be a win in the long run. Sometimes we have to take what we can get.

There's little doubt that Apple's intentions are in the right place and with Craig Federighi saying he wants Google to copy the App Store's privacy focus, it's perhaps clear this is more than a marketing thing – despite what the overly cynical might tell you.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

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.