Facebook squares up for a fight with Apple

Facebook has released its financial results for the full year ended 31 December 2020, stating that it expects a number of challenges over the next year.

One of the issues the company is preparing to take on is the privacy changes implemented by Apple in the latest version of its mobile operating system – iOS 14.

These will require app developers like Facebook to ask users for permission when using their identifying information for advertisement targeting.

“We also expect to face more significant ad targeting headwinds in 2021. This includes the impact of platform changes, notably iOS 14, as well as the evolving regulatory landscape,” Facebook said in a statement.

“While the timing of the iOS 14 changes remains uncertain, we would expect to see an impact beginning late in the first quarter.”

The company also noted continuing uncertainty around the viability of transatlantic data transfers in light of recent European regulatory developments.

“Like other companies in our industry, we are closely monitoring the potential impact on our European operations as these developments progress,” it said.

Facebook has previously been vocal about its opposition to Apple’s privacy changes in iOS 14, going so far as to take out full-page newspaper adverts condemning the changes.

In the advert titled “Apple vs the Free Internet”, Facebook slammed Apple’s “forced software update”, condemning its potential impact on small businesses.

WhatsApp backlash

Facebook has not been free of controversy in recent months either, and recently suffered a backlash from users of its WhatsApp messaging application due to privacy policy changes.

WhatsApp asked users to agree to a new privacy policy by 8 February which would allow it to share user data with Facebook and other Facebook-owned services.

Users of the app began migrating to other services like Telegram and Signal, and Facebook quickly began to mitigate the backlash by clarifying the purpose behind its privacy policy update.

“We’ve heard from so many people how much confusion there is around our recent update,” the company wrote Friday in a blog post. “There’s been a lot of misinformation causing concern and we want to help everyone understand our principles and the facts.”

WhatsApp had asked users to agree to the new policy by 8 February but has pushed that deadline to 15 May while it further explains the changes.

The app’s updated privacy policy was intended to alert users that some businesses would soon be using Facebook-owned servers to store messages with consumers.

Facebook has said that it will not access those messages for any type of ad targeting, but the language in the updated terms of service concerned many users who worried that Facebook would suddenly see their private messages.

Now read: Before you switch to Telegram, remember that ads are coming

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Facebook squares up for a fight with Apple