Facebook runs full-page newspaper ads to attack iOS 14 privacy changes

Small businesses will suffer if they can't use targeted ads, the company argues.

Dado Ruvic / reuters

Facebook is using full-page newspaper ads to criticize an upcoming Apple policy that will give iPhone and iPad customer the choice over whether advertisers can track them. The company claims in its advertisement that it’s “standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere.” If the policy change goes ahead, it argues, these sorts of companies will be unable to find and target customers with personalised ads. If they can’t do that, their sales will plummet, “adding to the many challenges they face right now,” the company argues in the ad, which Bloomberg reports will be running in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post papers.

Facebook’s gripe is with a change in iOS 14 that requires developers to ask for permission before tracking them. “Tracking refers to the act of linking user or device data collected from your app with user or device data collected from other companies’ apps, websites, or offline properties for targeted advertising or advertising measurement purposes,” the company explains in a developer-focused support page. It was announced in June and originally meant to roll out with the launch of iOS 14 in the fall. Two months later, Facebook warned in a blog post that the change would “hurt many of our developers and publishers at an already difficult time.”

In September, Apple decided to push the policy change to next year. The company then attacked Facebook in a letter sent to several human rights and privacy organizations. “Facebook executives have made clear their intent is to collect as much data as possible across both first and third party products to develop and monetize detailed profiles of their users, and this disregard for user privacy continues to expand to include more of their products,” Apple reportedly wrote. Facebook quickly hit back, arguing that Apple was using its “dominant market position to self-preference their own data collection while making it nearly impossible for their competitors to use the same data. They claim it’s about privacy, but it’s about profit.”

For now, Apple still plans to go ahead with the change.

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