Facebook gives in to Apple's privacy update, bites back with own prompt

Facebook has decided to comply with Apple's privacy settings and show its prompt for consumers to gain permission in obtaining their data. Apple's iOS 14 updates include the requirement of apps to ask users for permission to collect and share data using its prompt. This comes even as the social media giant frowns upon Apple's approach, which it claims will hurt small businesses and force them to turn to subscriptions and other in-app payments for revenue. In a 1 February update to a blog post first published last December, Facebook said it has decided to comply with Apple to "ensure stability for the businesses and people who use its services".

"We disagree with Apple’s approach and solution, yet we have no choice but to show Apple’s prompt. If we don’t, Apple will block Facebook from the App Store, which would only further harm the people and businesses that rely on our services. We cannot take this risk on behalf of the millions of businesses who use our platform to grow," the post added.

However, Facebook is not going down without a fight. Instead, it will be launching its own prompt to educate consumers about the benefits of personalised ads. According to Facebook, this pop-up will provide more information about how it uses personalised ads, which support small businesses and keep apps free. Should users accept the prompts for Facebook and Instagram, the ads they see on those apps will not change. If users decline, they will see ads that might be less relevant to them. Facebook said:

Agreeing to these prompts does not result in Facebook collecting new types of data. It just means that we can continue to give people better experiences.

"We feel that people deserve the additional context, and Apple has said that providing education is allowed," the company added. According to Facebook in the blog post, Apple's new prompt suggests there is "a trade off between personalised advertising and privacy", and Facebook claims it provides both. Additionally, Facebook claimed that the Apple prompt also provides no context about the benefits of personalised ads. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to both Facebook and Apple for a statement.

Apple first announced its new iOS 14 AppTracking Transparency policy in June 2020, which requires apps to show a prompt to gain consumers' permission for the app to obtain the users data. Facebook said previously that the move would hurt entrepreneurs and creators who rely on advertising to make money, and in turn, provide free content to people. This ranges from morning news to games users play while waiting in line at the coffee shop. If these businesses cannot rely on advertising to make money, Facebook said they will be forced to turn to other ways to stay afloat, such as charging users for a subscription or in-app payments.

Additionally, the privacy update would be detrimental to small businesses with tighter budgets who focus on targeted groups of customers, Facebook claimed in the blog post. "By dramatically limiting the effectiveness of personalised advertising, Apple’s policy will make it much harder for small businesses to reach their target audience, which will limit their growth and their ability to compete with big companies," the social media giant said. Facebook also noted the seemingly double standard of Apple's policy, as it said Apple's own personalised ad platform is not subjected to the new iOS 14 policy. 

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