Facebook and Instagram use iOS notices to sell you on app tracking

Giving up a little bit of privacy keeps the apps free, Facebook says.


Facebook has been determined to promote app tracking before Apple made it optional with iOS 14.5, and it's now using pressure tactics to encourage adoption. Technologist Ashkan Soltani and The Verge have found that Facebook and Instagram are displaying notices to iOS users that pitch the app tracking concept. The option not only shows more personalized ads, Facebook says, but supports businesses and helps keep the apps "free of charge." Disable app tracking and you might have to pay someday, the social network implied.

The company detailed the notices in an updated blog post in late April, but the "educational screens" (as Facebook described them) didn't garner much attention until now.

It's not surprising that Facebook would try the hard sell for app tracking. Personalized ads play a major role in Facebook's business, and using iOS 14.5 to effectively disable them could hurt the internet giant's bottom line. The notices could be worthwhile for the company if they lead to at least some customers sticking with app tracking. At the same time, they're reminders that Facebook's business revolves around data collection — you might balk if you're privacy-conscious.