EFF Calls Facebook's Criticism of Apple's Pro-Privacy Tracking Change 'Laughable'

Facebook's recent criticism directed at Apple over an upcoming tracking-related privacy measure is "laughable," according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a non-profit organization that defends civil liberties in the digital world.

facebook data sharing
Facebook has claimed that Apple's new opt-in tracking policy will hurt small businesses who benefit from personalized advertising, but the EFF believes that Facebook's campaign against Apple is really about "what Facebook stands to lose if its users learn more about exactly what it and other data brokers are up to behind the scenes," noting that Facebook has "built a massive empire around the concept of tracking everything you do."

Starting early next year, developers of iPhone and iPad apps will need to request permission from users to track their activity across apps and websites owned by other companies for personalized advertising purposes. Specifically, users will be presented with a prompt to allow or deny tracking as necessary when opening apps on iOS 14 and iPadOS 14.

facebook ios 14 tracking prompt
According to the EFF, a number of studies have shown that most of the money made from targeted advertising does not reach app developers, and instead goes to third-party data brokers like Facebook, Google, and lesser-known firms.

"Facebook touts itself in this case as protecting small businesses, and that couldn't be further from the truth," the EFF said. "Facebook has locked them into a situation in which they are forced to be sneaky and adverse to their own customers. The answer cannot be to defend that broken system at the cost of their own users' privacy and control."

Facebook has argued that Apple's move "isn't about privacy, it's about profit," claiming that Apple's new policy will leave many apps and websites with no choice but to start charging subscription fees or add more in-app purchase options to make ends meet, in turn increasing App Store revenue. Facebook said this scenario will make the internet "much more expensive" and reduce "high-quality free content."

"We disagree with Apple's approach and solution, yet we have no choice but to show Apple's prompt," Facebook said. "If we don't, they will block Facebook from the App Store, which would only further harm the people and businesses that rely on our services. We cannot take this risk on behalf of the millions of businesses who use our platform to grow."

In response to Facebook, Apple expressed that users deserve control and transparency. "We believe that this is a simple matter of standing up for our users," said Apple, adding that "users should know when their data is being collected and shared across other apps and websites — and they should have the choice to allow that or not."

The EFF applauded Apple for its pro-privacy change, calling it a great step forward.

"When a company does the right thing for its users, EFF will stand with it, just as we will come down hard on companies that do the wrong thing," the organization concluded. "Here, Apple is right and Facebook is wrong."

Top Rated Comments

baryon Avatar
19 months ago
It's funny to see Facebook suddenly hiding behind "small businesses" and making it sound like they care so much about them. "Oh no it's fine with us, we don't mind, we're big and rich, it's the small businesses that we care so much about... And the puppies! The puppies will be really sad! Apple is killing them!"
Score: 110 Votes (Like | Disagree)
farewelwilliams Avatar
19 months ago
who isn't laughing at Facebook these days?
Score: 88 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mdracer Avatar
19 months ago
I own a small brick and mortar store. Facebook is the last company I would think that has my back. Due to their algorithms my ad payments to them have gone up but the feedback and impressions I get has drastically reduced. Guess what.. they don't care and have no way of actually assisting me with making my money go further. Get Bent FB!
Score: 74 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarpalMac Avatar
19 months ago
Perhaps I am in the minority, but not once have I ever clicked on adverts when browsing. Targeted adverts, when I have seen them when my blocker has been deactivated, invariably just show me the very same things I had searched for a little earlier.

So, with that in mind, and ignoring the blatant ulterior motive, I personally must also declare Facebooks argument: Laughable and flawed.

What I do enjoy though is the thought of Zuck"please call me the messiah" being worried, and maybe Facebook going the way of MySpace. Here's hoping.
Score: 47 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CallDownFire Avatar
19 months ago
Totally laughable! Facebook has never tried to protect anyone or anything but themselves. The FACT that facebook tracks everything about and uses it against you and then cries wolf when Apple is shedding light on it and equipping us with tools to stop the malicious behavior is just—laughable!
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Darmok N Jalad Avatar
19 months ago
So with this statement by the EFF, I wonder if Facebook's algorithms have properly marked Facebook's statement as "False Information" that has been "Checked by independent fact checkers"? I doubt that door swings both ways.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

Facebook Feature

Facebook's New 'Privacy Center' Will Help Educate Users on Data Collection and Privacy Options

Friday January 7, 2022 8:41 am PST by
Facebook today announced a new "Privacy Center" section on its website on the desktop. This new area will offer users a "new place to learn more about our approach to privacy across our apps and technologies" and "provides helpful information about five common privacy topics," Meta announced today in a press release. The new Privacy Center, rolling out to a small pool of Facebook users in...
Facebook Feature

Report: Facebook to Change Its Name Next Week to Better Reflect Company's 'Metaverse'

Wednesday October 20, 2021 3:41 am PDT by
Facebook is reportedly planning to change its name to better reflect Mark Zuckerberg's goal of creating a "metaverse," reports The Verge, claiming the change could come as soon as next week. From the report: The coming name change, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to talk about at the company's annual Connect conference on October 28th, but could unveil sooner, is meant to signal the tech...
generic tracking prompt green

Report: iOS Users Who Opt-Out of App Tracking Continue to Be Tracked by Facebook and Snapchat

Wednesday December 8, 2021 5:50 am PST by
"Loose" interpretations of Apple's privacy policies allow apps such as Facebook and Snapchat to continue tracking users for targeted advertising even when they have asked to not be tracked, The Financial Times reports. In May, Apple launched its App Tracking Transparency feature that allows users to opt-out of being tracked across apps and websites for advertising purposes. Seven months...
Whatsapp Feature

Facebook Reportedly Researching Ways to Use Encrypted WhatsApp Messages for Targeted Advertisements

Tuesday August 3, 2021 7:24 am PDT by
Facebook is researching ways to analyze encrypted data, such as WhatsApp messages, without actually decrypting the information, according to a new report from The Information. The report cites that Facebook has confirmed it is building a team of artificial intelligence researchers to "study ways of analyzing encrypted data without decrypting it." While it is still early in development, the...
Facebook Feature

FTC Accuses Facebook of Using 'Buy-or-Bury' Techniques to Stifle Competition and 'Hone a Surveillance-Based Advertising Model'

Thursday August 19, 2021 4:29 pm PDT by
The United States Federal Trade Commission today reinforced its antitrust case against Facebook by providing more detail on how the company either crushed or bought out its rivals in an attempt to get rid of competition. The updated filing is longer than the original complaint and it offers additional evidence in favor of the FTC's argument that Facebook is a monopolist, plus it again asks...
facebook instargram updated att prompt 1

Facebook and Instagram Ask Users to Enable App Tracking in Order to Keep Services 'Free of Charge'

Sunday May 2, 2021 1:22 pm PDT by
As a way to convince users to enable tracking across other apps and websites, Facebook is deploying the tactic of telling users that they must enable tracking as part of the App Tracking Transparency framework in iOS 14.5 if they want to help keep Facebook and Instagram "free of charge." App Tracking Transparency or ATT is the newest privacy feature to come to iPhone and iPad devices as part ...
Facebook Watch Feature

Facebook Wants to Replace Your Apple Watch

Friday August 6, 2021 3:05 am PDT by
Facebook is developing a health and messaging-focused smartwatch to compete with the Apple Watch, according to recent reports. The Information and The Verge have reported Facebook's internal plans to bring an Apple Watch-style smartwatch to market. Facebook's smartwatch is said to work with a cellular connection without the need for a tethered smartphone. It will apparently run a version...
facebook

Facebook Crowned 'Worst Company of 2021' by New Survey

Sunday December 19, 2021 3:47 am PST by
Facebook, otherwise known as Meta, has been crowned the worst company of the year, following a turbulent 12 months of controversies, public backlash, and an eventual entire rebrand of the social media giant, according to a survey conducted by Yahoo Finance. Yahoo Finance every year crowns the best company of the year, with Microsoft taking the top spot for 2021. This year, however, Yahoo...

Popular Stories

anker 563 dock ports

Anker's Latest USB-C Docking Station Brings Triple-Display Support to M1 Macs

Wednesday May 18, 2022 7:06 am PDT by
While Apple's early M1-based Macs can only officially support a single external display, there are ways around the limitation. Anker is launching a new 10-in-1 USB-C docking station today which delivers just that. The Anker 563 USB-C dock includes two HDMI ports and a DisplayPort port, and it leverages DisplayLink to carry multiple video signals over a single connection. Given that this hub...
Prosser Series 8 3

Apple Watch Series 8 Rumored to Feature New Design With Flat Display

Wednesday May 18, 2022 6:21 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 could feature an all-new design with a flat display, according to the leaker known as "ShrimpApplePro." In his latest video on the YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Jon Prosser highlighted information from ShrimpApplePro that suggests the Apple Watch Series 8 could feature a flat display in what seems to be a design originally rumored for the Apple Watch Series 7. ...
apple ar headset concept 1

Apple's Headset Said to Feature 14 Cameras Enabling Lifelike Avatars, Jony Ive Has Remained Involved With Design

Friday May 20, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Earlier this week, The Information's Wayne Ma outlined struggles that Apple has faced during the development of its long-rumored AR/VR headset. Now, in a follow-up report, he has shared several additional details about the wearable device. Apple headset render created by Ian Zelbo based on The Information reporting For starters, one of the headset's marquee features is said to be lifelike...
apple data auction iphone privacy ad

Apple Highlights iPhone's Latest Privacy Features in New 'Data Auction' Ad

Wednesday May 18, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
Apple today shared a new ad highlighting iPhone privacy features like App Tracking Transparency and Mail Privacy Protection that are designed to give users more transparency and control when it comes to their personal data being collected. The ad revolves around a young woman named Ellie who discovers that her personal data is being sold at an auction house, with bids being placed on her...
apple ar headset concept 2

Apple's AR/VR Headset Nearing Completion as Board Gets Demo

Thursday May 19, 2022 9:52 am PDT by
Apple last week demonstrated its upcoming AR/VR headset to Apple board members, indicating that the device is in an advanced stage of development and could see a debut in the not too distant future, reports Bloomberg. Apple has also ramped up development of the software that runs on the headset, with that software expected to be called "RealityOS," or rOS for short. Render via designer Ian ...