Facebook has spent its week pushing public relations efforts meant to attack Apple due to the fact that the company is planning on making iOS data privacy changes that would make it harder for advertisers to track users search history and therefore deliver extremely specific targeted ads on platforms like Facebook.
Critics of Facebook were quick to point out that it’s interesting they care so much about targeted advertisements, and believe they’re just showing how integral that is to their actual core business.
Facebook has put out advertisements in several national newspapers, such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post, in which the platform slams Apple’s upcoming privacy changes. Facebook has claimed in the ads that the changes would be “devastating” to millions of smaller businesses that use Facebook to get their companies name out there more.
Facebook has been pushing their new small business initiative, SpeakUpForSmall, recently in which the platform encourages local businesses to “speak their mind” and share what personalized advertisements have meant to the success of their business. However, many were quick to point out that Facebook is likely more upset about these changes due to the fact that the platform makes a majority of its annual revenue from advertising on the site.
Apple announced these changes at their Worldwide Developer Conference back in June, but they won’t be implemented until early 2021. During the event Apple discussed how users would now be shown a prompt on their devices that would ask for their permission to allow tracking from advertisers, and a bold warning that their information would be used specifically for targeted advertisements.
Apple has defended this move multiple times by claiming that “online privacy is a fundamental human right,” a right that Facebook has definitely been criticized on throughout the past decade. Now, Facebook is attempting to position themselves as a large supporter of small businesses with these new advertisements, which claim that the platform is “standing up for small businesses everywhere.”
The advertisements continue: “Many in the small business community have shared concerns about Apple’s forced software updates, which will limit businesses’ ability to run personalized ads and reach their customers effectively. … These changes will be devastating to small businesses, adding to the many challenges they face right now.”
Apple released a statement this week in response to the advertisements and the small businesses throughout the nation who are actually concerned that this new policy could hinder how well they’re able to advertise: “Users should know when their data is being collected and shared across other apps and websites — and they should have the choice to allow that or not. App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14 does not require Facebook to change its approach to tracking users and creating targeted advertising, it simply requires they give users a choice.”
Apple and Facebook have clashed in the past over privacy-related concerns as well. Just last week WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, criticized Apple over these privacy concerns and warnings, to which Apple replied that peoples privacies should always be top priority, and they would continue to fight for that.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.