Facebook Parries Apple’s Privacy Policy with Its Own Prompt

In response to Apple’s changes that require users’ consent to track their behavior, Facebook — which claims the privacy change will make targeted advertising too difficult — has responded with its own solution. The social media company plans to introduce an in-app prompt that asks users to give permission to use data collected from apps and third-party websites and provides information on how the data is used for personalized ads. That screen will appear with the Apple prompt detailing its new privacy policy.

The Wall Street Journal reports that, although Apple will debut its new screen “in the next several months,” Facebook plans to beta test its screen beginning Monday. The company will roll it out simultaneously with Apple’s new privacy tool introduction. It added that, “agreeing to the prompt wouldn’t result in its collecting new types of data, and users who decline it would still see advertisements, albeit less relevant.”

The tension between Facebook and Apple has been mounting over the past few months; Facebook, which relies on targeted advertising, has also accused Apple of hurting small businesses with its new privacy policy.

At a recent conference, Apple chief executive Tim Cook decried “a theory of technology” comprised of “engagement and algorithms” that result in the spread of “disinformation and conspiracy theories in order to collect user data for advertising.”

Earlier, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg accused Apple of making “misleading claims about user privacy.” That company continues its strategy to “expand its advertisement goals while also confronting major regulatory hurdles,” including courting “small businesses to its growing Marketplace segment, which it has been integrating with its Instagram and WhatsApp apps.”

Facebook faces antitrust lawsuits from the Federal Trade Commission and a group of 46 states. Nonetheless, in Q4, it posted record-breaking revenue of $28.07 billion and profit of $11.22 billion. The unit that includes Marketplace and virtual reality saw revenue rise to $885 million in the last quarter, “more than doubling from the year-earlier period.”

The Verge reports that Facebook’s campaign has included “full-page newspaper ads railing against Apple’s changes.” “Apple’s new prompt is designed to present a false tradeoff between personalized ads and privacy; when in fact, we can provide both,” said a Facebook spokesperson. “Apple is doing this to self-preference their own services and targeted advertising products.” Apple’s “system-level pop-up” will be mandatory in its iOS 14 release this spring.

Apple originally planned to implement the requirement in September 2020 but delayed “to give developers more time to comply.” The Information revealed “internal estimates” that predicted “fewer than 20 percent of Facebook users agreeing to allow tracking on iOS.”