Facebook has not been shy about expressing its concerns about the changes coming to iOS 14. Last summer, Apple first announced the changes, which include the requirement that apps include a privacy label to show users what data is being collected, and how they are used, as well as what Apple calls App Tracking Transparency (ATT), which requires apps to request permission before tracking users.
Apple delayed the implementation of the latter to give advertisers and developers time to adapt to the change. Now, however, it should arrive with the next update of iOS.
Meanwhile, Facebook has taken its fight publicly. The company ran a couple of ads in three of the most popular newspapers in the country, accusing Apple of attacking small businesses and the open Internet. Mark Zuckerberg also attacked Apple̵
Now the company has launched a new campaign with an ad titled “Good Ideas Deserve to Be Found.” The new ad is a little hard to follow, but is meant to show the value of personal ads for small businesses. Facebook wants to make it very clear that personalized ads provide a better experience on Facebook and Instagram, which it also owns.
In a blog post, Facebook explains why:
Everyone’s news feed is unique, which means you’re more likely to see content you want to see, groups you want to join, creators you want to follow, and products and services you want to buy. This discovery is all driven by personalization, and it is the not-so-secret sauce that helps people discover products and services that match their needs. It is also the engine that small businesses use to reach their most likely customers at an affordable price. We believe it is good for small businesses and for the people who love their products. And we want more people to know why.
There’s a lot to unpack in this statement, but it’s worth noting what Facebook is not saying. Facebook never talks about tracking because it does not want you to think about tracking. It will not make you think about the fact that the goal of the business is to get you to let it track everything you do online so that it can show these personal ads.
The thing is, it’s not in danger. Apple does not end personalized ads – or even tracking for that matter. It just requires that apps first ask permission.
This leads to an interesting question. Who is the ad for? Does Facebook hope Apple will change its mind? It does not look likely. Tim Cook has already made the company’s position clear.
The company does not prevent Facebook from tracking you, but it will first have to ask you for permission.
Why is Facebook so worried? Because it knows what everyone else already knows – that when they get a choice, most people will choose not to let Facebook track them.
If it happens to be bad for Facebook’s business, it’s not Apple’s fault. It just means that Facebook’s business model is based on something most people prefer it did not.
Aside from that, small businesses can still advertise for their customers. They can still use all the information Facebook knows about its users – such as their gender, age, location and interests to display ads. If you are a small business, nothing will change that. The only person who really loses seems to be Facebook.