Apple responds to Facebook’s criticism of tracking, saying users deserve control and transparency

Apple has responded to Facebook’s criticism of an upcoming iOS 14 privacy measure – specifically, a change that requires users to consent to tracking their activity for personalized advertising purposes from the beginning of next year.

ios 14 tracking permission prompt

In a statement to MacRumors, Apple said, “we believe this is a simple matter of standing up for our users,” adding that “users should know when their data is being collected and shared with other apps and websites – and they should. The choice to allow or not. ”The options to allow or deny tracking are displayed in the form of a prompt that appears when users open apps if necessary.

Apple’s full statement:

We believe this is a simple matter of standing up for our users. Users need to know when their data is being collected and shared with other apps and websites – and they should have the choice whether or not to allow it. App tracking transparency in iOS 14 doesn’t require Facebook to change its approach to user tracking and targeted ad creation, it just requires them to give users a choice.

As part of its response to Facebook, Apple emphasized that it welcomes in-app ads and does not prohibit tracking, but simply requires apps to obtain explicit user consent to track users for personalized advertising purposes, giving users greater control and transparency. Apple said tracking can be invasive, and as a result, it believes users have the right to make choices about the permissions they grant apps.

Apple also highlighted the fact that developers like Facebook will be able to edit some of the text that appears in the prompt to explain why users should allow tracking, and it provided a screenshot to visualize this.

facebook ios 14 tracking prompt

In the Settings app, users can see which apps have requested permission to track for advertising purposes and make changes as they see fit. Apple said that if it finds that an app violates the App Store Review Guidelines regarding this change, the developer must address the issue or else the app will be removed from the App Store.

Apple said this change has been on the roadmap for years and it will apply equally to all developers, including Apple.

Finally, Apple noted that it is expanding its privacy-preserving SKAdNetwork ad mapping API, allowing third-party ad networks that serve ads across a wide variety of apps to provide ad mapping to developers without knowing the user’s identity. Apple says SKAdNetwork is free to use and it doesn’t monetize the API.

Criticism of Facebook

Earlier today, Facebook claimed in a blog post and full-page ad in three major newspapers that Apple’s tracking change “will have a detrimental impact on many small businesses struggling to survive.”

“We don’t agree with Apple’s approach and solution, but we have no choice but to show Apple’s prompt,” said Facebook. “If we don’t, they will block Facebook from the App Store, which would only further harm the people and businesses that depend on our services. We cannot take this risk on behalf of the millions of businesses that use our platform to grow. “

Facebook said Apple’s anti-tracking change is “about profit, not privacy,” claiming that small businesses will be forced to move to subscriptions and other in-app payments for revenue, which in turn profits from Apple. Facebook also accused Apple of setting a double standard, claiming that the iPhone maker’s own personalized advertising platform is not subject to the upcoming iOS 14 policy, a claim Apple has now denied.

“We believe Apple is acting anti-competitive by using their control over the App Store to benefit their bottom line at the expense of app developers and small businesses,” said Facebook. The company said it would continue to look for “ways to address these concerns,” including backing Epic Games in its antitrust case against Apple.