Feb 1, 2021 - Economy

Facebook testing notification to users about Apple privacy changes

Photo: Facebook

Facebook is testing a notification that notifies Apple iOS users about ways the tech giant uses their data to target personalized ads to them.

The big picture: The test is happening in light of upcoming changes to Apple's privacy settings that will make it harder for Facebook and others to collect data on Apple users for ad targeting.

Catch up quick: Facebook warned investors last week that changes to Apple's "Identifier for Advertisers" (IDFA) user tracking feature will likely impact its business.

  • The feature asks Apple iOS users to opt-in to having their data collected, instead of asking them to opt-out. Developers forecast that only around 10-30% of users will actually opt-in to having their data collected, making it much harder for advertisers to target potential Apple customers without as much access to their data.
  • Despite an earnings beat, Facebook's stock has been down due to investor fears that the Apple changes could significantly impact its business moving forward.

Details: In an updated blog post, Facebook says it will be showing their prompt "to ensure stability for the businesses and people who use our services."

  • The prompt, which provides information about how Facebook uses personalized ads, will be shown to users globally on Facebook and Instagram.
  • In the post, Facebook says that if users accept the prompts for Facebook and Instagram, the ads you see on those apps won’t change. "If you decline, you will still see ads, but they will be less relevant to you."
  • The tech giant notes that Apple has said that providing education about its new privacy changes is allowed. 

Between the lines: As Axios has previously noted, Apple's newest software updates ask users whether they want to allow apps like Facebook to track their activity.

  • Facebook has long asserted that these changes will make it harder for small business to place targeted ads. In the updated blog post, Facebook doubles down on that argument saying, "Apple’s new prompt suggests there is a tradeoff between personalized advertising and privacy; when in fact, we can and do provide both."

Our thought bubble: Usually consumers are left out of these types of corporate battles over policy changes. By prompting users, Facebook is exposing its billions of users more directly to its very messy public battle with Apple over these privacy changes.

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