Facebook has publicly bemoaned new privacy changes in iOS 14, telling its advertisers that the changes to ad tracking will drastically affect ad revenue.
In iOS 14, there’s an optional setting where apps now have to ask for permission to collect data and share it with trackers using the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) feature.
If users select not to give permission, a major stream of ad revenue will be closed to Facebook’s advertisers. In reaction, Facebook says it “will not collect the identifier for advertisers (IDFA) on our own apps on iOS 14 devices. We believe this approach provides as much certainty and stability that we can provide our partners at this time. We may revisit this decision as Apple offers more guidance.”
The company added that the changes by Apple “may render Audience Network so ineffective on iOS 14 that it may not make sense to offer it on iOS 14 in the future.”
Facebook will work to release an updated version of the Facebook SDK for iOS 14 that “limits the data available to businesses for running and measuring campaigns” in order to abide by Apple’s rules and still leave the door open for limited ad tracking. In early tests, Facebook saw more than 50% decline in Audience Network publisher revenue.
But Facebook positioning its complaint by saying “We understand that iOS 14 will hurt many of our developers and publishers at an already difficult time for businesses” will fall on deaf ears to many, who rightly feel the social media giant has for too long taken advantage of the few restrictions placed upon online advertising in the first decade or so of modern smartphone apps.
Apple appears to be putting control back in the hands of its customers and pushing its commitment to privacy.
Since we wrote this article, there have been some developments. Apple has agreed to postpone the privacy changes in order to give developers more time to comply. And Facebook has taken out full-page ads in the US press to protest against the changes, and Apple has responded to these by saying "We stand up for users."