Apple once proposed team-up on for-pay version of Facebook without ads

Apple once proposed team-up on for-pay version of Facebook without ads


Apple proposed for-pay version of Facebook without ads
Apple suggested Facebook create a for-pay version, with Apple getting a cut of the subscription revenue.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple tried to talk Facebook into creating a version of its social network without adverts, according to a new report. Users would pay a subscription fee and would not be tracked for advertising purposes.

Obviously, it didn’t happen.

Apple once proposed a very different version of Facebook

Facebook isn’t free. There’s no fee to use the social network, but its owner Meta rakes in billions by collecting user personal information into profiles, then using these to serve targeted adverts paid for by external companies. In other words, Facebook users are selling their privacy to Meta.

Those who object to this business model have suggested Apple create its own social network. The Mac-maker much puts far more emphasis on privacy than Meta. Apple instead proposed a more privacy focused version of Facebook.

“Apple suggested a series of possible arrangements that would earn the iPhone maker a slice of Facebook’s revenue,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “One idea that was discussed: creating a subscription-based version of Facebook that would be free of ads, according to people familiar with the discussions.”

Instead of trading privacy for Facebook access, subscribers would pay for it with money and not be tracked. Apple would profit by taking a share of the subscription fee.

Didn’t happen

These discussions reportedly took place years ago and nothing ever came of them. Facebook likely saw no reason to share its revenue with Apple.

Apple’s response was App Tracking Transparency, which lets iPhone/iPad users decide whether third-party applications can track them in order to provide targeted advertising. ATT significantly disrupted Meta’s business and has so far cost the advertising company billions in revenue.

It would be interesting to know whether Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg wishes he could go back in time and make a different decision. It’s unlikely, though, as he now believes his company and Apple are in “a competition of philosophies and ideas.”