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Facebook’s Full-Page Newspaper Ads Attacking Apple

Kurt Wagner and Mark Gurman, writing for Bloomberg:

Facebook Inc. lashed out at Apple Inc. in a series of full-page newspaper ads, claiming the iPhone maker’s coming mobile software changes around data gathering and targeted advertising are bad for small businesses.

The ads, which ran Wednesday in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, carried the headline “We’re standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere.” They home in on upcoming changes to Apple’s iOS 14 operating system that will curb the ability of companies like Facebook to gather data about users and ply them with targeted advertising.

Alex Hern, summarizing nicely for The Guardian:

The point of contention is a feature coming to iPhones in the new year that will require developers to ask for permission before they can track what users do across apps. Apple says the feature, which was originally slated for launch in October before being delayed in order to allow advertisers time to cope, is necessary to protect user privacy; it comes alongside a number of similar changes in new versions of iOS, such as a requirement that app developers provide a “nutritional label” for their software to explain what they do with user data.

Facebook objects – but seems keen to stress it is not doing so because it is defending its bottom line. According to its pitch, the real victims are “your neighbourhood coffee brewery, your friend who owns their own retail business, your cousin who started an event planning service and the game developers who build the apps you use for free”.

“Yes, there will be an impact to Facebook’s diversified ads business,” said Dan Levy, the company’s head of ads and business products, “but it will be much less than what will befall small businesses, and we’ve already been factoring this into our expectations for the business.”

It’s pretty rich to see Facebook taking the angle of ‘standing up for the little guy.’ They’ve been getting away with a complete disregard for user privacy for a long time.