Apple will give millions of iPhone users a choice: allow Facebook and other apps running on Apple’s iOS platform to track your activity on your phone and online, or stop tracking altogether.
What will you choose
New features in Apple’s new iPhone software, iOS 14.5, include a major privacy update called App Tracking Transparency, which requires apps to request approval before collecting user or device data. In particular, the update changes the IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers), a unique random number assigned to every iPhone that allows advertisers and developers to track user behavior, including app usage and web browsing behavior. The IDFA is widely used to personalize advertising.
Apple also releases software updates for its other devices, including the iPad, Apple Watch, Mac computers, and Apple TV. Apple is holding an event on Tuesday to announce product updates. The software is expected to be available this week.
An Apple spokesman said the new privacy features were designed to “provide transparency and give users a choice of whether their data is tracked.” Apple requires all developers to adhere to the new guidelines, but not software manufacturers to apply the update immediately.
Why Facebook Objects
Facebook, Google and other big technology companies are unhappy with the changes.
In December, Facebook placed a full-page ad in the New York Times claiming the changes to user tracking in iOS 14.5 would adversely affect small businesses. “”[T]The average small business advertiser can see a 60% decrease in sales for every dollar they spend, “the Facebook ad read.
A spokesman for Facebook failed to verify the claim of a 60% loss for small businesses, but shared a Facebook blog post and video claiming that the Apple update will force developers to make in-app purchases to allow to make up for lost revenue.
“It will force companies to turn to subscriptions and other in-app payments for revenue, which means Apple will take advantage of them and many free services will have to charge or leave the market,” the blog post said. Facebook has previouslythat its advertising network could become “ineffective” on Apple’s products.
Google is not planning any similar changes to its Android operating system. The mobile operating system has a similar device identification advertising feature called GPS ADID, which advertisers can use to personalize ads on Android. The current version of Android also requires one-time user permissions that allow app access to a phone’s location, camera, and microphone.
A spokesman for the company, owned by Alphabet, told CBS News, “We’re always looking for ways to work with developers to raise the bar on privacy while enabling a healthy, ad-supported app ecosystem.”
A boon to privacy
The Google Chrome web browser starts restricting or removing databy the beginning of 2022, according to a company spokesman. Instead of tracking individuals, Google plans to allow targeted ads for groups of users with similar interests. This step is less invasive, but it has been criticized by data protection advocates.
Apple’s update is “the most significant digital privacy enhancement in the history of the Internet. And it will bring Facebook to its knees,” said Jason Kint, a privacy attorney and CEO of the advertising association Digital Content Next, in a tweet.
AdWeek, an advertising industry magazine, recently surveyed a number of small business advertisers and reported that “nobody really knows” what to expect from the iOS changes.
Other experts are more positive. Apple’s policies are fair to both advertisers and consumers, said tech analyst Rene Ritchie. “It’s good for consumers. It’s not bad for advertisers. If we look at it in a consumer-centric way, [advertisers] I’ve just had full access to our data forever, and who we are and what we do online is almost a ownership title, “he told CBS News.
According to Ritchie, consumers have the right to stay private or share cell phone and browser data. “This is our data. And it’s so valuable to [advertisers] that they are willing to spend all this money, accumulate and analyze it, but we still own it, “he said.