Following Apple's decision to postpone a controversial privacy update, Facebook has paused its plans to stop collecting data from iPhone users.
The social media giant's mobile ad network has been thrown a lifeline by Apple's delayed rollout of iOS 14, which will drastically alter how mobile marketing partners operate.
Along with its many other new consumer-facing features, Apple's latest operating system for iPads and iPhones will require app developers (including Facebook) to notify users if their app collects a unique device code, known as an IDFA (ID for Advertisers).
How will Apple’s proposed changes affect Facebook?
Apple has pledged to prevent app ad trackers from harvesting certain types of user data without their explicit consent.
This includes asking users to opt-in to the use of IDFAs – randomly generated codes that Apple assigns to a device which let apps tie together user activity and target users with ads.
Facebook has reacted with alarm to this news, warning that a lack of agreement from users would slash its audience ad network revenue by as much as 50%,
However, faced with an advertiser backlash Apple has now postponed introduction of the privacy feature until 2021.
Welcoming the delay, Facebook has paused its plans to sever the use of IDFAs for now,
Outlining its position, Facebook called for clarity from Apple, saying: "Given Apple’s delayed implementation of the user permission requirement, we will continue collecting IDFA on iOS 14 in an attempt to reduce unnecessary disruption to our customers’ businesses.”
Worsening relations between the two tech giants came to a head earlier this week when Facebook pulled no punches in a filing to the EU, insinuating that Apple's iOS update would broaden its ad presence and allow it to dominate the market.
Facebook cautioned: "It is unclear whether the large platforms imposing these restrictions will themselves be subject to such restrictions."
Facebook argued Apple may be tempted to be less heavy-handed when applying consent requirements to its own services.
In a statement, the firm wrote: "We are concerned these restrictions may also be motivated, in part, by the platforms' business interests such as the increased revenue that some may attain by pushing developers toward in-app payments..."
Trade bodies such as IAB Tech Lab and IAB Europe have also voiced disquiet, observing that iOS 14’s opt-in features were not interoperable with the IAB’s Transparency Consent Framework which governs GDPR compliance.
In an open letter to Tim Cook, the trade bodies wrote: "Part of the information requested by Apple can also be found in Consent Management Platforms (CMPs) that are already widely used in the application world in this [EU] region."