Apple’s iOS privacy changes criticized by Facebook over full-page newspaper ads

4 mins read
Facebook’s newspaper ad. Dave Stangis (Twitter)

“We’re standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere,” reads the headline on an ad found on the New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal newspapers today. The ads apparently concern Apple’s iOS 14 privacy changes that will result in making it difficult for companies like Facebook to target specific users with ads, according to Bloomberg News.

iPhone and iPad users will soon have to be asked by developers for permission to gather data and track them across apps and websites. The changes were delayed until early 2021, despite Apple’s plan to implement it during the initial iOS 14 release in September. Most likely, Facebook’s ad business and ad network for developers and businesses will be affected by these changes, as users are more likely to opt-out of the tracking prompts.

The effects of Apple’s changes will be “devastating to small businesses”, Facebook claims, due to them relying on its ad network to generate sales. The ads direct small businesses to Facebook’s “speak up for small business” site, where a series of business owners speak out about Apple’s changes. “Small businesses deserve to be heard,” Facebook states. “We hear your concerns, and we stand with you.”

Although Apple has yet to respond to today’s newspaper ads, the tech company did however respond to multiple Facebook claims the previous month. Apple accused Facebook of a “disregard for user privacy”, as they are determined in their implementation of the iOS 14 privacy policies. They have also stated that it is “committed to ensuring users can choose whether or not they allow an app to track them”

New App Store Privacy labels were launched by Apple this week, bringing attention to how iOS apps use your data. Facebook’s privacy label for one, expands across several pages, listing data that can be used to track down unsuspecting users across various apps and websites. 

The newspaper ads, however, are just the latest addition to Facebook and Apple’s public spats over privacy and policies. Facebook has also previously criticized the policies of Apple’s App Store, earlier this year after it had to remove a mini-game feature to pass Apple’s strict App Store approval process. The social media giant also welcomed the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA) passed by the EU this week. Both of which introduces new rules that digital platform holders can make use of, it also aims to force companies to rapidly remove illegal content from the web. 

In a statement fo CNBC, a Facebook spokesperson stated “We hope the DMA will also set boundaries for Apple,” he further adds, “Apple controls an entire ecosystem from device to app store and apps, and uses this power to harm developers and consumers, as well as large platforms like Facebook.”