Facebook is putting pressure on its Apple iPhone and iPad users to allow in-app data tracking, following the iOS 14.5 privacy update.
With the latest update, Apple users are notified when an app is monitoring their personal data, and are given the option to choose which apps are allowed to monitor their activity across apps.
Both Facebook and Instagram are now showing notifications urging iOS users to authorise these features, which will allow them to see more personalised ads, while still supporting businesses and keeping the apps free.
Included in these educational notifications – as Facebook refers to them – is a message that enabling tracking helped Facebook keep its apps free of charge.
As a result, the social media giant has now implied that if Apple users disabled app tracking, they would possibly have to pay to use its apps in future.
This line was missing from its previous educational messages which were shown before the rollout of iOS 14.5.
Notably, Facebook’s latest message appears before Apple’s own notification, giving the social media giant the opportunity to set the tone of the discussion.
The images below shows the company’s first education message prior to the “help keep it free of charge” ultimatum and the notification shown after the launch of iOS 14.5.
Facebook’s core business revolves around targeted advertising and makes up more than 98% of its income.
Since Apple announced that it would improve user control over privacy, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has claimed the company’s decision was intended to harm the growth of millions of small businesses that rely on targeted advertising.
According to CNBC, Facebook admitted that Apple’s iOS 14.5 update would cause its audience network advertisement business to drop by more than 50%.
In response, Apple CEO Tim Cook commented on Facebook’s business model during a data privacy conference in Brussels, saying that “if a business is built on misleading users, on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all, it does not deserve praise. It deserves reform”.
He argued that users may not be aware that the apps they use on a daily basis may in fact be passing on information to third-party developers.
“It seems no piece of information is too private or personal to be surveilled, monetised, and aggregated into a 360-degree view of your life.”
Facebook’s business model
Facebook’s business model is based on targeted advertising which focusses on the specific traits, interests, and preferences of a consumer. This data is collected by tracking their Internet activity.
The social networking site gathers information from its users, and advertisers then pay Facebook to strategically place content that fits their specific target market.
Notably, content creators can now earn money from videos, in-stream ads program, Facebook’s star feature and with paid partnerships via branded content.
Without tracking enabled on the Facebook and Instagram apps on iOS, Facebook would not have access to a chunk of this information.
MyBroadband asked Facebook for comment on the latest notifications it was showing to iOS users.
In response, Facebook said that they would not charge Apple users to use their apps, and that they are only showing educational information to “help people make an informed decision”.
The following infographic illustrates how Facebook generates revenue from targeted advertisements.