Facebook Issues Dramatic Warning That Apple IOS 14 Privacy Update Could Crash Advertising Revenue

Written by Dana Sanchez
Apple iOS 14
Facebook issues a dramatic warning that the Apple IOS 14 privacy update could crash advertising revenue by 50 percent or more. Image: New Apple iPhone 7, Maurizio Pesce / Flickr

Facebook is warning its advertisers that they could lose a substantial amount of revenue when Apple makes proposed changes in September to improve privacy on users’ devices.

“Apple wants to stop advertisers from following you around the web. Facebook has other ideas,” Recode reported.

Sometime in September, Apple will  roll out its new operating system, iOS 14. It will ask iPhone users a new question when they use many of the apps on their devices: Do they want the app to follow them around the internet, tracking their behavior?

By asking this seemingly simple question, “Apple is trying to single-handedly change the way internet advertising works,” Peter Kafka wrote for Recode. “At stake is your online privacy — and the advertising system that underwrites an endless supply of free content.”

Facebook said in a blog post that it’s difficult to quantify the impact to publishers and developers, but “in testing, we’ve seen more than a 50% drop in Audience Network publisher revenue when personalization was removed from mobile app ad install campaigns.

“In reality, the impact to Audience Network on iOS 14 may be much more,” Facebook said.

The stakeholders include:

In the past, Apple gave each device a unique identification code that makes it easier to track what you do on your phone. With the new plan, any developer who wants to use that code — and also wants to use data collected by someone else, or who wants to send data its users create to outsiders — will have to ask you for permission. You will have to opt-in or out on a pop-up screen that looks like this:

Many of Facebook’s advertising partners rely on Apple’s “Identifier for Advertisers” user tracking feature to target would-be users by interest and see if they actually clicked on a mobile ad directing them to install a particular app, Axios reported.

In a blog post, Facebook said it expects Apple’s ID changes “will disproportionately affect (Facebook’s) Audience Network (of publishers) given its heavy dependence on app advertising.”

Facebook said that it plans to release an updated version of its software developer kit to support Apple’s changes. It will ask its ad partners that run app-install ad campaigns on Facebook and Instagram to create a new ad account dedicated to iOS 14 users. Facebook said advertisers can continue using their original account to target users of older versions of iOS, as well as Android, which supports a similar user-tracking feature.

Facebook is framing this as Apple moving too fast to make changes that will have far-reaching impacts on the app developer community, which Facebook tries to support and is tied to from a business perspective, Axios reported.

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“We believe that industry consultation is critical for changes to platform policies, as these updates have a far-reaching impact on the developer ecosystem,” Facebook said in the blog post.

Some Twitter users seemed skeptical of Apple’s upcoming Apple iOS 14 changes and their ability to hurt Facebook’s bottom line.

S.F. Tech Worker tweeted, “yet stock is hitting all time highs day after day”.

“Too good to be true. I will even like Apple again if they become the weapon of FB destruction purported here,” Global Witness tweeted.

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