Facebook ran full-page ads in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal Wednesday, taking aim at Apple privacy features coming soon to iOS 14.
Facebook’s ads claim that the new privacy measures, intended to fill users in on how they are tracked online, will hurt small businesses. That’s because the new iOS feature will affect Facebook’s advertising model, which lets businesses target users with ads based on their personal data.
The full-page ad appears under a banner reading, “We’re standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere.”
I’m pretty certain #Facebook is fighting #Apple to retain access to personal data. #PID #privacy. #fullpagead #wsj pic.twitter.com/029WwaGSs0
— Dave Stangis (@DaveStangis) December 16, 2020
“At Facebook, small business is at the core of our business. More than 10 million businesses use our advertising tools each month to find new customers, hire employees and engage with their communities.
Many in the small business community have shared concerns about Apple’s forced software update, which will limit businesses’ ability to run personalized ads and reach their customers effectively.
Forty-four percent of small to medium businesses started or increased their usage of personalized ads on social media during the pandemic, according to a new Deloitte study. Without personalized ads, Facebook data shows that the average small business advertiser stands to see a cut of over 60% in their sales for every dollar they spend.
While limiting how personalized ads can be used does impact larger companies like us, these changes will be devastating to small businesses, adding to the many challenges they face right now.
Small businesses deserve to be heard. We hear your concerns, and we stand with you.”
The ad ends with a link to a Facebook page asking concerned voices to “join us” in the “SpeakUpForSmall” campaign.
Facebook vs. Apple
As I’ve noted previously, Facebook and Apple have clashed with increasing frequency in recent years. The question of user data and privacy is one of the big issues. By taking its spat public, Facebook is hoping to get the public on side. This, in turn, could influence regulators currently cracking down on abusive practices by tech giants. (Ironically, Facebook is the first of the tech giants to be sued by the US government.)
Notably, Facebook is taking a page out of Apple’s playbook with this full-page ad. Almost 40 years ago, in 1981, Apple tongue-in-cheek welcomed IBM to the personal computer market when IBM launched its first PC. Apple’s ad began, “Welcome, IBM. Seriously. Welcome to the most exciting and important marketplace since the computer revolution began 35 years ago. And congratulations on your first personal computer.”
Other companies have also copied this bit of personal computing history. For example, when Microsoft entered the workplace chatroom market with Microsoft Teams in 2016, Slack responded with an open letter in The New York Times, titled “Dear Microsoft.”
With the decline of newspaper sales, a full-page ad doesn’t mean, in 2020, what it did in 1981. Nonetheless, this is a bold move on Facebook’s part at escalating tensions with Apple. In print readers alone, the ad will reach a few million people. Not to mention the people who will read about it second-hand online.
What do you think of Facebook’s gambit? Let us know in the comments below.
Via: The Verge