We all know and Facebook and other tech apps employ third parties and partners who look into the online activities on various websites of users. This way, they get all the data about the personal information of customers who purchase things online, and they also find out about the likes and dislikes of these people. Then, they sell off this data to Facebook and some other apps, and these apps then use all this data to target people with relevant ads. This is a way to improve their audience outreach and engagement chances.
Apple is against this kind of user-tracking and ad-targeting practices though. So, when it was about to launch its iOS 14, the company had announced a new privacy feature. This feature was supposed to let the users decide whether they want to be tracked by various apps to be targeted for ads or not. So, the control would go into the hands of the consumers through this feature, and different app developers and Facebook had a major problem with that.
They expressed their disappointment in Apple’s decision, and they claimed that Apple is trying to use its stature and popularity to block its competitors. If ad-targeting is blocked, it will greatly impact the business of all these apps, and especially Facebook.
Now, Apple decided to stall the requirement for the feature to be accepted and adopted by all the apps until 2021. It was an effort to give some time to all these apps to understand Apple’s point of view and eventually come around. However, this delay did not sit well with some human rights and privacy organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Human Rights Watch. So, activists from these organizations wrote a letter ad criticized Apple’s decision to delay its privacy feature. According to these activists, the most crucial time when a lot of civil unrest was expected was around the US General Elections. All those times were perfect for making users’ data most targeted for personalized political ads.
Now, Apple wrote back a reply and explained its stance to these human rights and privacy activists.
Apple’s Global Head of Privacy, Jane Horvath also explained that the company delayed the requirement for the feature just to give developers some time to update their systems and data practices. But Apple is still fully committed to the feature and has full faith that what they are doing is right, and what Facebook and other apps are doing is wrong and unjustified.
Facebook did not like this criticism, of course. So, they responded by alleging Apple to use these tactics to distract the users from their own privacy issues. Facebook further reinforced that Apple is trying to sabotage their businesses by this feature and that is not right, because they claim to do this to protect users’ privacy, but it is actually all about their own profits!
This post was written by Arooj Ahmed and was first posted to Digital Information World
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