Apple’s Bold New iOS 14 Move Could Really Hurt Facebook

Apple’s Bold New iOS 14 Move Could Really Hurt Facebook

By: Kate O’Flaherty | Senior Contributor | Forbes

Apple’s iOS 14 privacy features are great for users, but they could really hurt Facebook and its key advertising customers, gaming companies.

Apple’s soon-to-launch iOS 14 includes major new features that help users improve their privacy and security. But Apple’s decision to double down on apps that track you across services in iOS 14 has some people very worried—especially Facebook.

That’s according to a new article in The Information, which details how Facebook has met with its key advertising customers, gaming companies, to try and ease their concerns. Besides reassuring this important group of customers, The Information explains how Facebook employees “have been engaged in trying to get more information about the upcoming Apple shift,” citing one gaming exec who has met with the firm.

It started in iOS 13, but iOS 14 ups the ante even further 

It was already clear that Facebook was really worried about iOS 14. Apple’s previous big operating system update iOS 13 had hit the likes of Facebook and Google hard. But one aspect in particular in iOS 14 is bothering Facebook and its advertising customers—the new iOS 14 feature that allows users to disable tracking between apps.

From iOS 14, Apple requires people to actively opt in to ad tracking. Before being tracked you will receive a notification saying, “x would like permission to track you across apps and websites owned by other companies. Your data will be used to deliver personalized ads to you.” 

Apple will allow you to choose between “Allow Tracking” or “Ask App Not To Track.”

The impact for users is great—more transparency, and more privacy. But for Facebook and others, it could be disastrous. Facebook chief financial officer David Wehner told CNBC that upcoming changes to Apple’s iOS 14 operating system could hurt the social network’s ability to target ads to users.

In the case of the Facebook gaming customers, it looks like this is going to impact spend on app install adverts in iOS 14—which ask people directly to download an app or game and require more detailed targeting data.

But it’s even possible Apple could lose out. The Information also cites data from, Sensor Tower, stating that 68% of all App Store revenue last year was from games.

Of course, Apple knows what it is doing, having already doubled down on tracking in iOS 13, and it will continue to differentiate itself as the brand that really cares about your privacy. “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone,” the phrase coined by Apple’s marketing last year, is still very relevant to its strategy today.

Apple will hurt advertisers but boost user privacy 

Apple can afford to hurt advertisers, because its model isn’t funded by ads like Facebook and Google’s are. “Companies can make a tremendous amount of money from targeted advertising with the data they acquire, but with a growing number of concerned people, Apple is clearly starting to see the value in protecting its users,” says Jake Moore, cybersecurity specialist at ESET.

He warns that this could even become more widespread: “Usually, once Apple decides to showcase a particular new feature, other companies tend to follow suit and echo their movements, so we may see other companies magnanimously reduce their data tracking or at least offer an opt-in function.”

Apple’s privacy strategy is only getting more aggressive, so Facebook and others are right to be concerned. But iOS 14 is great for users, who will have the transparency to be able to actively decide which services they trust and which they want to avoid.

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