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Facebook criticizes Apple’s iOS privacy changes with full-page newspaper ads

Facebook criticizes Apple’s iOS privacy changes with full-page newspaper ads


Facebook says it’s standing up for small businesses

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Facebook’s newspaper ad.
Facebook’s newspaper ad.
Dave Stangis (Twitter)

Facebook is publicly criticizing Apple’s upcoming iOS privacy changes in full-page newspaper ads today. “We’re standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere,” reads the headline on an ad inside the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal today. Bloomberg News reports that the ads are related to Apple’s iOS 14 privacy changes that will make it more difficult for companies like Facebook to target users with ads.

Developers will need to ask iOS 14 users for permission to gather data and track them across mobile apps and websites on an iPhone and iPad soon. Apple had planned to implement these changes with the initial iOS 14 release in September, but delayed enforcing them until early next year. These changes will impact Facebook’s ad business, and in particular its ad network for developers and businesses, as end users are more likely to opt out of tracking prompts.

Facebook claims Apple’s changes will be “devastating to small businesses” that rely on its ad network to generate sales. The newspaper ads direct small businesses to Facebook’s “speak up for small business” site, where a series of business owners speak out about Apple’s changes. “Small businesses deserve to be heard,” Facebook writes. “We hear your concerns, and we stand with you.”

While Apple hasn’t responded directly to today’s newspaper ads, the company did respond to similar Facebook claims last month. The iPhone maker accused Facebook of a “disregard for user privacy.” Apple is adamant that its iOS 14 privacy policies will be enforced in early 2021, and has previously said it’s “committed to ensuring users can choose whether or not they allow an app to track them.”

Apple launched new App Store Privacy labels this week, shining a light on how iOS apps use your data. Notably, the privacy label on Facebook’s iOS app expands across several pages, listing all the data that can be used to track you across apps and websites owned by other companies.

These full-page newspaper ads are the latest in a public spat between Facebook and Apple over privacy, policies, and more. Facebook slammed Apple’s App Store policies earlier this year, after it had to remove a mini games feature to pass Apple’s strict App Store approval process. Facebook also welcomed the EU’s new Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA) this week. Both acts introduce new rules for digital platform holders, and aim to force companies to rapidly remove illegal content from the web.

“We hope the DMA will also set boundaries for Apple,” said a Facebook spokesperson in a statement to CNBC. “Apple controls an entire ecosystem from device to app store and apps, and uses this power to harm developers and consumers, as well as large platforms like Facebook.”