Apple recently announced that it would be rolling out App Tracking Transparency in spring. The capability will offer users more control over their data, as iOS and iPadOS apps will have to explicitly ask users for consent in order to track their activity on apps and websites owned by other companies. If a user does not allow this, their advertising identifier (IDFA) will not be shared with the app, which would essentially mean less personalized ads. Facebook strongly criticized the move, and has now stated that it will be educating users about how Apple's new rules will hurt small businesses.
Facebook had previously claimed that Apple's "discouraging prompt" will hurt small businesses, taking away as much as 60% of the revenue they could make due to targeted ads. The new rules were also criticized for potentially giving Apple preferential access to its advertising network, whereas other companies need specific permissions.
Now, Facebook has updated its "Speaking Up for Small Businesses" blog post from December 16, 2020, stating that it still disagrees with Apple, but will now be showing prompts on Facebook and Instagram educating users about how important personalized ads are for small businesses. It went on to say that:
To help people make a more informed decision, we’re also showing a screen of our own, along with Apple’s. It will provide more information about how we use personalized ads, which support small businesses and keep apps free. If you accept the prompts for Facebook and Instagram, the ads you see on those apps won’t change. If you decline, you will still see ads, but they will be less relevant to you. Agreeing to these prompts doesn’t result in Facebook collecting new types of data. It just means that we can continue to give people better experiences. We feel that people deserve the additional context, and Apple has said that providing education is allowed.
The move essentially puts the user in the middle of the war between Apple and Facebook. The latter claims that it can provide personalized ads while ensuring privacy, but this has not deterred Apple. App Tracking Transparency will be available in early spring as a beta update to iOS 14.