Why this is happening in the first place. Apple is a hardware and software company making devices such as iPhones, iPads, iMacs , MacBooks, MacOS etc. On the other hand Facebook is a social media platform company. These both companies have very different business models. Apple sells devices and makes money and Facebook shows advertisements in Facebook, Instagram and earns money.
So, why this fuss. It all started when Apple told that it is going to release iOS 14.5 with new privacy features next week. What is new in this update. Apple is going to release a new App (app tracking transparency). Which can change the way we use internet and could be the next wave of internet. Here’s a video about App(app tracking transparency) from Apple
So, what’s in this update. Apple devices give a specific IDFA (identifier for advertisers) which is used to track you in your phone and what are you up to. Basically, it’s like spying you and knowing what you are up to. On the other hand Android devices too have device ID’s. But, they are not used to track or spy you. They use other methods.
So, now the IDFA stores which apps you have installed on your devices and when the company or application wants to sell its premium subscription to you. They contact Facebook and ask them. Show my ad to You. Now, Facebook charges the advertiser’s money and shows the advertisement to you.
Now, you remember that spying is still on your devices. Now the app in your phone can also ask Facebook that I can give you a certain space to show your other ads. Like you watch ads on our websites. So, all these numbers are very good for business and Facebook built it’s revenue model from this targeted advertising as they know what’s up with you. Don’t worry, all your personal information is safe and it will not be shared with anyone. It will be shared in a group.
Okay, now let’s take an example. I’ve an apple device and installed an application regrading home workouts and gym. Now, I go to Facebook and find that particular gym ad here for premium subscription. So, the gym owner has given some money to Facebook to show me the advertisement. The information of who all installed the gym application is shared indirectly in a group to gym owner to show his ads.
Note: They are other targeting advertising options available like age, gender, etc. in these applications.
Now, coming back to our war. This feature from Apple can be game changing. Apple wants to turn off the app tracking by default. But, will show you a pop-up that would you give permission for an application to track you. And it’s also giving some area in the pop up to developers to tell them why you should allow tracking on your phone like personalized ads etc. And if user doesn’t want any tracking from applications. Users can go to settings-privacy-tracking and turn off Allow apps to request to track.
So, this is the big plan of Apple to give back control back to users regrading the tracking. Trust me, nobody likes them to be followed or tracked. So, maximum people will click ask app not to track. Now guess who’s not happy about it? Facebook! Yes, Facebook is not happy as it charges advertiser’s money to show you personalized advertisements with all the information Facebook has.
So, Facebook has given an advertisement that it is standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere. Even, I’ve seen pop-ups in my Facebook advertisement manager about this. Even small businesses who use Facebook advertising to bring in customers are not happy about this update as they will loose the ability to show personalized ads to you.
This update will directly impact Facebook revenue and other small business and developers who rely on fb ads. So, this update could make Facebook charge you as their revenue is affected. And they also specified that given a chance to customers. They will opt-out of tracking. Facebook also claims that free, ad supported services are essential to growth and vitality of internet.
Apple spokesperson told that apps and advertiser’s can continue to track users across apps and websites. App (app tracking transparency) requires users to give permission to do so. Steve jobs also specified that privacy means people should know what they are signing up for in plain English. Some people share more date then others. Ask them. Ask them every time.
Tim Cook also specified that the businesses should not be built on data exploitation and choices not given to users and they shouldn’t be supported. It is time to bring reforms and App(app tracking transparency) is the first step to give back control to users. Mark Zuckerberg also told that Apple is one of its major competitor’s like messaging apps and also pushing it’s users to use their services.
So, where this fight is exactly going? AR(Augmented Reality) and VR(Virtual Reality), in near future these headsets will have everything from CPU, RAM,OS etc. in them and apple or Facebook may be the first of companies to introduce them and both companies are actively planning for them. So, ultimately I think the winner is the user as he is having an option to tell applications to track them or not. Also, I’ve written a previous article on privacy which is myth nowadays.
I’ve tried my best to explain. If you still didn’t get it. Watch this Youtube video: