Facebook argues that it is standing up for small businesses by challenging Apple on its pro-privacy measures. However, it appears that not all Facebook employees are buying the company line.
According to internal message board comments and audio obtained by BuzzFeed News, some Facebook employees think their employer is being a tad disingenuous with its public statements about working on behalf of mom-and-pop businesses.
Hiding behind a sympathetic message
“It feels like we are trying to justify doing a bad thing by hiding behind people with a sympathetic message,” one engineer wrote.
“Aren’t we worried that our stance protecting [small- and medium-size businesses] will backfire as people see it as ‘FB protecting their own business’ instead?” read a top-voted question on an internal message board.
“People want ‘privacy,'” another user wrote. “FB objecting here will be viewed with cynicism. Did we know this would be bad PR, & decide to publish anyway?”
Responding to some of the points, Graham Mudd, Facebook’s VP of product marketing, said the social network has been transparent about the fact that Apple’s privacy-oriented changes negatively affect Facebook alongside small businesses. “We’re not trying to sweep that under the rug,” said Mudd. “We are, you know, a profitable, big company and we’re going to get through this and adapt our products and so forth. But the real folks that are going to get hit by this are small businesses. And that’s why we made them the focus of the message.”
The new App Tracking Transparency feature in iOS 14 is what’s causing the fuss for Facebook. The privacy feature will let users know exactly which apps are tracking them. Facebook claims this will hurt small businesses by making it tougher for them to use targeted ads.
“Since launching this effort we have heard from small businesses literally around the world who are worried about how these changes could hurt their businesses,” Facebook rep Ashley Zandy told BuzzFeed News. “Because this is such a critical time for [small- and medium-sized businesses], we will continue to share those stories with the public and our employees.”
Facebook vs. Apple
Facebook’s hostility toward Apple have been ramping up for some time. However, Facebook made the beef extremely public by publishing two full-page newspaper ads taking shots at Apple. In them, Facebook highlighted its role fighting back against Apple’s privacy policies on behalf of small business owners.
Source: BuzzFeed News