For at least a year, and perhaps all the way back to a private conversation he had with Apple’s Tim Cook in July 2019 at the annual Allen & Company investment bank conference attended by America’s corporate elite, Mark Zuckerberg has been dreading the day we’re in now.
It is expected that iOS 14.5, Apple’s newest mobile operating system upgrade, will have a significant impact on Facebook’s business model when it is released on Monday (its pervasive tracking that makes lucrative, hyper-personalized advertising possible). Thanks to a tidbit buried in an article published by The New York Times on Monday, we now know that Zuckerberg contacted Apple CEO Tim Cook for advice on how to handle Facebook’s developing Cambridge Analytica controversy if he were in Mark’s place.
Cook’s response took him by surprise; it instructed the Facebook CEO to erase all personal data gathered through means other than Facebook’s official apps. If Zuckerberg had been paying attention, he would have realized then that this week would come for Facebook, with the latest version of iOS allowing consumers to notify firms like Facebook that, sorry, we don’t want to be tracked across the Internet anymore.
Recently, Apple has made no secret of what is happening today, detailing the changes in great detail in an update for app developers. Other forms of tracking, such as those using a user’s name or email address, must be disclosed in the App Store Privacy Information section of the product page before the app is submitted for review and can only be used with the user’s explicit consent via AppTrackingTransparency. According to App Store Review Guideline 5.1.2, you must provide a purpose string in the system prompt that describes why you want to track the user (i). All applications must comply with these standards as of April 26, 2021.
To be expected, Facebook has struck back strongly and started a flashy advertising campaign in an attempt to rally consumers to its side in light of these impending changes from Apple. Even now, in the nick of time, I continue to see uplifting Facebook posts in my news feed, posts that are desperate to convince users that “Good ideas deserve to be found,” with the implication that many small businesses won’t be found if users disallow the ability to track their individual activity going forward.
DataGrail CEO and co-founder Daniel Barber told me, “Over the past few years, Apple started to aggressively promote a conversation about privacy, and as such, customer awareness will only expand.” His firm aids corporations in managing their adherence to the General Data Protection Regulation and other data privacy standards.
“(Apple’s) new App Tracking Transparency feature tells users exactly how their data is being used. Apple is introducing a pop-up in apps in an effort to have a conversation about privacy that has been hidden away in privacy policies and developer documentation (terms & conditions). Finally, consumers will be asked when it’s appropriate and how they feel about sharing their personal information.