Facebook and Apple battle over the internet’s future
Facebook last week posted a new web page and took two full-page ads in major newspapers charging that Apple’s iOS 14 privacy changes will harm not only small businesses, but the internet experience as a whole.
Apple’s changes, set for early 2021, will require developers to ask for permission to gather data and track users across mobile apps and websites on an iPhone or iPad. Digital advertising firms expect most users will decline to grant that permission.
In its second ad, Facebook said the updates “will change the internet as we know it — for the worse.”
Facebook contends “your favorite cooking sites or sports blogs” are free because they are supported by personalized ads and the changes would force websites and blogs to start charging subscription fees or adding more in-app purchases.
But Facebook’s major focus last week was the potential impact on small businesses. The ad also cited Facebook internal data to contend that, without personal ads, the average small business advertiser stands to see a reduction of over 60 percent in their sales for every dollar they spend.
In a blog post, Dan Levy, Facebook’s VP ads and business products, argued that the internet has made marketing reach “accessible and affordable” for entrepreneurs and other smaller businesses. He wrote, “If these changes go through, established businesses with large marketing budgets will have the advantage — once again — taking us back to the age of TV advertising. But the big business that benefits the most is Apple.”
Apple’s motivation, he argued, are the subscription or in-app payments from a paid model.
Apple the prior week threatened to remove apps from its App Store if they don’t comply with the privacy feature. Apple has reiterated that its push for greater transparency only puts Apple product users first.
CEO Tim Cook wrote in a Thursday evening tweet, “We believe users should have the choice over the data that is being collected about them and how it’s used. Facebook can continue to track users across apps and websites as before, App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14 will just require that they ask for your permission first.”
The skirmish comes as Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon are facing increased scrutiny over market power.
- Small businesses deserve to be heard. – Facebook
- Speaking Up for Small Businesses – Facebook
- Facebook Wades Into ‘Fortnite’ Maker’s Dispute With Apple – Wall Street Journal
- Facebook Takes the Gloves Off in Feud With Apple – New York Times
- Free Facebook hits back at Apple with second critical newspaper ad – Verge
- Facebook Says Apple’s New iPhone Update Will Disrupt Online Advertising – Wall Street Journal
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Should retailers be more supportive of Apple or Facebook in the companies’ battle over the transparency of targeted ads? What likely changes should retail prepare for?