What’s going on between Apple and Facebook?

What’s going on between Apple and Facebook?
Source: Regis Duvignau, Reuters
Apple’s new software update will be coming this season and will give us the option to keep other companies from tracking what we do and what sites we visit.

Facebook’s business model in practice:

  • Most of you know this, but when you’re wanting to buy something online – gym gear, for example – you leave the Facebook app that you had just been scrolling through and hop onto Safari to do a good ol’ search.
  • After a browse, you hop back onto Facebook and – bam! – gym gear ads are everywhere!
  • Facebook and all its platforms are constantly gathering information from your device about what you’re doing.
  • Apple wants to change that.

What happened?

  • Apple’s new software update will be coming this season and will give us the option to keep other companies from tracking what we do and what sites we visit. This feature is called App Tracking Transparency (ATT) and it’s turned on by default.
  • Facebook is reliant on trying to figure out what you do on your device in order to show the right ads to you. But this new software update means that apps will have to ASK (through a pop-up) before they can see what you’re doing on your device.
  • Most users will probably click no when shown this. Apple also gives you the option to turn off the pop ups altogether.

The bigger picture

  • This is significant because there are about a billion iPhones out there.
  • Facebook has about 1.84 billion users visiting the site daily and in the third quarter of 2020 there were an estimated 1.16 billion users on Instagram.
  • Facebook is worth a quarter of a trillion dollars and has essentially built its very lucrative business on this business model.

Where to from here?

  • Facebook is apparently preparing to sue Apple.
  • In late January, Zuckerberg said, “we increasingly see Apple as one of our biggest competitors.” He also said that Apple was using its “dominant platform position” to push its own apps while interfering with Facebook’s, particularly pushing Apple’s own iMessage app over Facebook’s WhatsApp and Messenger app.
  • Zuckerberg said that Apple may frame this as a privacy service to its customers, but it’s really only in Apple’s own best anti-competitive interests.
  • The next day, Apple’s chief executive officer, Tim Cook, said, “Technology does not need vast troves of personal data, stitched together across dozens of websites and apps, in order to succeed. Advertising existed and thrived for decades without it. And we’re here today because the path of least resistance is rarely the path of wisdom. If a business is built on misleading users, on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all, then it does not deserve our praise. It deserves reform.”
  • Apple currently faces a few other lawsuits for anti-competitive practices. This week, the EU will be charging Apple for anti-competitive practices. Fortnite and Spotify are also both in legal battles with the tech giant.
  • The Financial Times reported last week that Apple is actually planning to expand its advertising business, adding another advertising slot in its App Store.
  • But the truth is that Facebook has been preparing for this. Through the introduction of Facebook and Instagram shops, brands can go directly to consumers on Facebook apps. Because all your behavior is kept on the app, all the data is all kept by Zuck.
  • But regardless, if Apple gets its way, it’ll be a huge hit to Facebook’s business.

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