Facebook, Apple battle over online tracking, user privacy

The two major companies are fighting over internet users' privacy and browser history

On Thursday, Facebook ran a second full-page newspaper advertisement that attacked Apple’s plan to alert its iPhone and iPad users when certain apps are tracking them online.

“Apple plans to roll out a forced software update that will change the internet as we know it — for the worse,” Facebook said in the ad.

The digital and print ads appeared in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Post, with Facebook declaring to be “standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere.”

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Facebook further claims that the privacy change will negatively impact users from using the social media platform for digital advertisements.

“Many in the small business community have shared concerns about Apple’s forced software update, which will limit businesses’ ability to run personalized ads and reach their customers effectively,” the ad said.

NBC News reports that Apple is planning to release a new feature on their devices that will notify users when apps, including Facebook, “tracks your activity across other companies’ apps and websites.” With this feature, users will be given an option of “Ask App not to Track” or “Allow.”

In a statement released from Apple, the company emphasized the importance of users knowing their information is being tracked and standing behind their policy change.

“Users should know when their data is being collected and shared across other apps and websites — and they should have the choice to allow that or not,” the statement said. “App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14 does not require Facebook to change its approach to tracking users and creating targeted advertising, it simply requires they give users a choice.”

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Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, tweeted on Thursday a preview of the new feature. One Twitter user thanked the company and scolded Mark Zuckerburg, saying, “You have grossly made your entire fortune selling information we users give you freely.”


Walt Mossberg called Facebook “the king of privacy theft” and praised Apple as the “leader in privacy protection.”


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