Facebook has added a notice within its iOS app reminding users that the details it gathers from other applications and websites will “help keep Facebook free of charge,” in response to Apple’s iOS 14 privacy changes. On Instagram’s iOS app (Facebook is Instagram’s parent company), a similar message appeared.
You must specifically agree to the sharing of information about you obtained from one app or website with another.
Now that iOS 14.5 is available to the general public, we’re beginning to see how different businesses are enforcing the latest App Tracking Transparency privacy provision.
Facebook has been a vocal opponent of App Tracking Transparency, a new feature in iOS 14.5 that requires developers to ask users for permission before tracking them across apps and websites.
Despite Facebook’s objections, the company now has no choice but to comply now that iOS 14.5 is open to the public.
Facebook states in the popup message that iOS 14.5 allows developers to “ask permission to track some data from this device to improve your ads.” Users benefit from this form of data collection in three ways, according to the message:
- Show you ads that are more personalized
- Help keep Instagram/Facebook free of charge
- Support businesses that rely on ads to reach their customers
These popups are referred to by Facebook as “educational screens.” They’ll appear right before the iOS 14.5 App Tracking Transparency prompt for users. The second bullet point is particularly intriguing because no suggestions have been made that Facebook intends to provide paid versions of its applications.
It’s also worth mentioning that offering users benefits for allowing monitoring is against Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines. Facebook is not providing a monetary reward, but rather a clarification of why it gathers the information it does.
App Tracking Transparency: what it means for you
Apple’s app tracking transparency is intended to make it simple for you to stop apps from capturing and sharing your iPhone behavior through multiple apps. Before personal data can be collected and exchanged among applications, app developers must obtain express permission from iPhone users.
It could potentially impact app developers’ sales, and it’s at the heart of Facebook’s argument with Apple. When app tracking transparency is activated, some advertisements will be shown, but they will be less personalized, according to Facebook, which will hurt small businesses that advertise on the platform.
During Facebook’s January earnings call, Zuckerberg singled out Apple as one of the company’s biggest competitors. “Apple has every incentive to use their dominant platform position to interfere with how our apps and other apps work, which they regularly do to preference their own,” Zuckerberg stated. “This impacts the growth of millions of businesses around the world, including with the upcoming iOS 14 changes.”
The prompts will appear in Instagram and Facebook apps for the next few days and weeks, according to Facebook, so you may not see them right away.