Facebook vs. Apple War: Apple Rebuffs Facebook's Criticism Over Upcoming Privacy Changes

Facebook vs. Apple War: Apple Rebuffs Facebook's Criticism Over Upcoming Privacy Changes

In a conference call on Wednesday, Dan Levy, head of Facebook's small business programme, said that Apple upcoming privacy rules are "about profit, not privacy".

What Facebook is reportedly referring to is a planned update that will require App Store apps to ask for user permission before tracking, which should launch next year (the feature was originally supposed to launch with iOS 14, but it was delayed).

Essentially, this 'nutrition label' will explain to the user just what the app will do with their personal data, in a move that advertisers are not overly keen on.

Facebook recently posted a detailed announcement, where it has accused Apple of anticompetitive behavior and raised concerns over Apple's privacy changes for iOS14. Apple makes its money through selling high-margin hardware and services and prides itself on offering users a rarity for a tech giant: increasing their privacy with every major software release.

"We're standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere", read the headline of Facebook's ad.

In August Facebook said Apple's commission was hurting small businesses that had started charging for special events and experiences through their mobile apps to make up for financial losses caused by the pandemic.

While not applicable to Facebook apps, Apple will reduce its App Store revenue cut from 30% to 15% starting next year for developers that generate up to $1 million per year.

Apple also has plans to impose a new mandate that will require all iPhone apps to obtain permission before tracking a person's activities on the device. If Facebook loses the ability to provide detailed data sets on its targeted audiences, it claims that small businesses could lose up to 60% of the revenue they now gain from Facebook ads. But the most damning statement from Apple reveals the true hypocrisy of Facebook's complaint. The company reiterated that many small businesses rely on such ads for growth and don't require a large budget in the process.

The changes will restrict companies, including Facebook, from gathering data on users to provide personalized ads.

Apple, meanwhile, rebuffed the claims of Facebook in a statement and made it clear that the new app transparency tracking feature is for the benefit of users. This links to a dedciated "Speak up for small" landing page where businesses are invited to tell their story, with Facebook promising: "We'll help the world hear it". The changes had been due to be implemented in September. However, they now need explicit consent to do so.

"Personalization doesn't have to come at the expense of privacy", said Facebook.

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