Facebook CEO worries iOS 14 anti-tracking feature could hurt businesses

Facebook CEO worries iOS 14 anti-tracking feature could hurt small businesses

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Facebook owns 4 of the top 10 apps of the past decade
Facebook owns 4 of the top 10 apps of the past decade
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Mark Zuckerberg isn’t happy about an iOS 14 feature that will make it harder for developers and advertisers to track iPhone users — on the basis that the anti-tracking tech could hurt small businesses already struggling in the age of coronavirus.

In Thursday’s earnings call, the Facebook co-founder and CEO said that actions planned by Apple “could have a meaningful negative effect on small businesses and economic recovery in 2021 and beyond.”

In iOS 14, Apple is giving users the ability to more accurately control which apps can track them. It also alerts them to the requests being made by different apps. It’s a feature that falls very much into Apple’s privacy oriented focus.

However, ad-dependent companies such as Facebook have spoken out strongly against it.

Zuckerberg said that, “personalized advertising is helping small businesses find customers, grow their businesses and create jobs.” It would also, inevitably, hurt Facebook.

“I continue to believe that we need new regulation that allows for personalized and relevant ads while protecting people’s data and privacy,” said Zuck.

Facebook vs. anti-tracking tech

This is not the first time that Facebook has indirectly complained about Apple’s new iOS 14 anti-tracking feature. Back in July, Facebook CFO David Wehner echoed the same point about the impact of the new feature on small businesses. “Our view is that Facebook and targeted ads are a lifeline for small businesses, especially in the time of Covid,” he said. “We are concerned that aggressive platform policies will cut at that lifeline at a time when it is so essential to small business growth and recovery.”

This week, a coalition of trade groups working in online advertising, raised an antitrust complaint against Apple in France. The Financial Times reported:

“The coalition bringing the complaint includes the digital advertising trade body IAB France, whose board includes representatives from LinkedIn, Google and Le Monde; the Mobile Marketing Association France, whose advisory board includes members from Publicis and Facebook (my emphasis); and Udecam and SRI, who act for media buyers and sellers respectively.”

This is just the latest clash between Facebook and Apple. The two companies, once very close, have increasingly been at odds in recent times. In Steven Levy’s excellent Facebook: The Inside Story, Levy wrote how Apple’s previous CEO, Steve Jobs, got “a kick out of [Zuckerberg’s] brash approach” to business. However, things have been “chillier” when it comes to current Apple CEO Tim Cook and the Facebook boss.

Source: Business Insider