Facebook is stepping up its campaign against Apple’s privacy changes with a second full-page newspaper ad today. This new ad claims Apple’s iOS 14 privacy changes “will change the internet as we know it,” and force websites and blogs “to start charging you subscription fees” or add in-app purchases due to a lack of personalized ads. It follows a similar full-page newspaper ad in the The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and the Washington Post yesterday.
Apple is planning to make changes to iOS 14 early next year that will require developers to ask for permission to gather data and track users across mobile apps and websites on an iPhone or iPad. Apple revealed how iOS 14 users will be prompted to opt into tracking in apps this week, noting that developers like Facebook can explain to users why they should allow tracking within the prompt.
These changes will impact Facebook’s lucrative ad business, but the social networking giant is framing them as something far larger that could impact small businesses. Unsurprisingly, Apple doesn’t agree. “We believe that this is a simple matter of standing up for our users,” said an Apple spokesperson in response to Facebook’s first full-page newspaper ad yesterday. “Users should know when their data is being collected and shared across other apps and websites — and they should have the choice to allow that or not.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook further defended the company’s position 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,” Cook said.
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. pic.twitter.com/UnnAONZ61I— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) December 17, 2020
Facebook clearly isn’t holding back on its PR campaign, with this latest newspaper ad trying to sway readers that Apple’s changes are more about moving websites and apps into a paid model where Apple stands to benefit from in-app purchases and subscriptions. With full-page ads in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and the Washington Post, Facebook is also very clearly trying to convince regulators (i.e. people that still read paper newspapers) to look at Apple’s privacy changes.
This is just the latest in an ongoing public spat between Apple and Facebook over iOS 14 privacy and policy changes, and follows Apple’s new App Store privacy labels. Facebook also hit out against Apple’s App Store policies earlier this year, adding to the growing industry pressure against Apple’s cloud gaming restrictions. Facebook also welcomed the EU’s new Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA) this week, hoping that the DMA “will also set boundaries for Apple.”
Update December 17th, 7:34PM ET: Added tweet from Tim Cook.