Facebook pauses plan to stop Apple advertising ID tracking on iPhones

Facebook has been thrown a lifeline by Apple's delayed rollout of iOS 14

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.”

Anything else?

  • 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."

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