Former Employees Explain What Facebook Has to Lose When Apple Implements App Tracking Transparency

As Apple prepares to implement App Tracking Transparency changes in iOS 14.5, CNBC spoke with several former Facebook employees to get details on why Facebook has been so heavily against the planned privacy updates.

Apple vs Facebook feature
Starting this spring, Facebook and other app developers will need to get express permission to access a user's advertising identifier, or IDFA, which is used to track usage across apps and websites for ad targeting purposes. Facebook has campaigned heavily against App Tracking Transparency, taking out full page newspaper ads and attempting to position Apple as an enemy of small businesses.

One of Facebook's main arguments is that Apple's changes will hurt businesses that use Facebook's advertising tools, but former Facebook employee Henry Love told CNBC that for many businesses, the change might not even be noticeable.

Less ad tracking data will prevent Facebook and its clients from targeting ads as effectively as they can now, but a lot of businesses may not need much data for effective ad targeting. A small coffee shop in Texas, for example, likely uses broad targeting categories like zip code and age range for ads, which is data that Facebook can collect from its own apps without the need for the IDFA.

"If you talked to any restaurant owner anywhere and asked them what IDFA is, I don't think any of them would know what that is," Love said. "It's affecting Facebook at scale. Not the small business owners."

Among the few "small business owners" who might feel the effects of the IDFA change are start-ups backed by venture capital money who have hired professionals with the skills to target users with sniper precision, Love said.

People who are targeting users across mobile, web, and the Facebook Audience Network with the IDFA are "not small businesses," with Love calling such companies "sophisticated, VC-backed startups."

App Tracking Transparency will threaten Facebook's view-through conversion tracking, a metric that lets ad companies figure out how many people saw an ad, didn't click it, but later made a purchase related to the ad. Retailers can record the info of the person who bought an item and then share it with Facebook, with Facebook able to determine whether that person's IDFA matches with a user who saw an ad for the product purchased.

CNBC says that the loss of this info could heavily impact Facebook because if advertisers can't accurately measure the effectiveness of Instagram and Facebook ads, they might shift more of their budget to other apps and services.

Facebook's Audience Network, which provides advertisements in non-Facebook apps, will also be impacted because it uses IDFA data to choose the best ads to show to users based on Facebook data. If users opt out of sharing the IDFA, Facebook's ad personalization efforts will be rendered useless outside of its own apps.

Facebook is planning to ask users for permission to access the IDFA, and is testing wording that suggests the tracking will provide a better ad experience. Facebook test prompts encourage customers to allow IDFA usage to "support businesses that rely on ads to reach customers."

Top Rated Comments

Apple_Robert Avatar
12 months ago
I think the world would be a better place with less tracking and no Facebook.
Score: 123 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AttoA Avatar
12 months ago
Did anyone really believe that Facebook cared about small businesses?
Score: 54 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jz0309 Avatar
12 months ago
can't wait for the release of 14.5 ...
Score: 42 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rshill Avatar
12 months ago
Facebook is going to lose so hard.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mossback Avatar
12 months ago
Have never had a facebook account and never will.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ? Avatar
12 months ago

I think the world would be a better place with less tracking and no Facebook.
[HEADING=1]How about with NO TRACKING![/HEADING]
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

Apple vs Facebook feature

Facebook Says Impact of iOS 14.5's App Tracking Transparency Will Be 'Manageable'

Wednesday April 28, 2021 4:40 pm PDT by
Facebook today announced its earnings for the first calendar quarter of 2021, and during the call discussing the results, Facebook executives confirmed that Apple's App Tracking Transparency will have a "manageable" impact on Facebook's business starting in the second quarter. As highlighted by ZDNet, Facebook CFO Dave Wehner said that Facebook is expecting "increased ad targeting headwinds...
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 ...
post idfa alliance

Mobile Ad Companies Form 'Post-IDFA Alliance' to Navigate Upcoming App Tracking Transparency Changes

Wednesday February 17, 2021 2:02 pm PST by
A group of mobile advertising companies today announced the launch of the Post-IDFA Alliance, a partnership that's designed to help marketers and app developers adjust to the ad tracking changes that Apple is implementing with the launch of iOS 14.5, reports Reuters. The Post-IDFA Alliance will offer up tips that will help advertisers and developers get effective ads in front of customers...
signal instagram ads3

Signal Shares the Instagram Ads Facebook Doesn't Want You to See

Wednesday May 5, 2021 1:29 am PDT by
Encrypted messaging app Signal has had a series of Instagram ads blocked from the social media platform, after it attempted to show users how much data the Facebook-owned company collects about them and how it's used to push targeted ads. In a blog post, Signal described how it generated the ads to show users why they were seeing them, simply by declaring upfront the information that the...
Facebook Hacked Feature

Mark Zuckerberg's Details Leaked in Facebook Data Breach

Wednesday April 7, 2021 7:08 am PDT by
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's own personal information was among the details of 533 million Facebook users that leaked in a data breach, it has emerged. Facebook has now confirmed that the leaked data was obtained not by a hack, but by scraping the platform prior to September 2019. The company now says that an exploit was found in its contact importer, but the "specific issue that allowed...
tim cook mark zuckerberg

Tim Cook Urged Mark Zuckerberg to Delete User Data From 3rd Party Apps in Private 2019 Meeting

Monday April 26, 2021 4:33 am PDT by
At a private meeting on the sidelines of an informal gathering of tech and social media executives in July of 2019 in Sun Valley, Idaho, Apple CEO Tim Cook urged Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg to delete all user information his company has collected from third-party apps, according to The New York Times. According to the Times, the executives met annually at the conference...
maxresdefault

Facebook's New PR Campaign Promotes Personalized Advertising Ahead of Apple's App Tracking Transparency Launch

Thursday February 25, 2021 7:02 am PST by
Facebook is launching a new PR campaign that highlights how small businesses rely on personalized advertising to help their businesses grow from "an idea into a livelihood." The new campaign indirectly takes aim at App Tracking Transparency (ATT), an upcoming iOS 14 feature that will require apps to ask for a user's permission to opt into tracking for personalized advertising. Starting with...
Apple vs Facebook feature

Facebook Employees Criticize Campaign Against Apple in Leaked Comments

Wednesday December 23, 2020 3:11 am PST by
Amid a barrage of public attacks on Apple from Facebook over privacy measures, Facebook employees have expressed their displeasure with the direction of the campaign in comments obtained by BuzzFeed News. Last week, Facebook launched a campaign in print newspapers explaining that it was "standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere," and created a website encouraging people to "Spea...

Popular Stories

Upcoming Products 2022 Feature

Gurman: Apple Preparing 'Widest Array of New Hardware Products in Its History' for Fall

Sunday January 23, 2022 10:32 am PST by
Apple is working on a number of new products that are set to launch this fall, and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says that it will be "the widest array" of new devices that Apple has introduced in its history. In his latest "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explains that Apple is working on four new flagship iPhones (iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max), an updated low-end Ma...
Questionable Design Decisions

Apple's Most Questionable Design Decisions in Recent Memory

Sunday January 23, 2022 2:59 am PST by
Apple has always emphasized the depth of thought that goes into the design of its products. In the foreword to Designed by Apple in California, a photo book released by the company in 2016, Jony Ive explains how Apple strives "to define objects that appear effortless" and "so simple, coherent and inevitable that there could be no rational alternative." But every once in a while even Apple...
macbook pro 14 16 2021

Three Months After Launch, Apple Still Struggling to Meet Demand for Redesigned 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pro

Monday January 24, 2022 7:12 am PST by
Three months after their launch, the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros continue to experience high demand and seemingly short supply, with shipping dates for both models stretching into multiple weeks in several of Apple's key markets. In the United States, the baseline 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro chip is estimated to ship in three to four weeks, promising an arrival by at least...
att gigabit internet

AT&T Bringing $180/Month 5-Gigabit Internet to 70 Cities

Monday January 24, 2022 9:20 am PST by
AT&T today announced the launch of upgraded AT&T Fiber plans, which support speeds of up to 5 Gigabits for some customers. There are two separate plans, one "2 GIG" plan and one "5 GIG" plan, available to new and existing AT&T Fiber subscribers. According to AT&T, the new plans are available to nearly 5.2 million customers across 70 metro areas including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, San...
airpodsinear 1

AirPods Save Woman's Life With Feature Everyone Should Know

Friday January 21, 2022 2:13 am PST by
Apple's AirPods have been credited with saving a woman's life after a potentially fatal fall, People reports. When a 60-year-old florist in New Jersey tripped and hit her head in her studio, she lost consciousness and awoke heavily bleeding. With nobody around to call for help, she realized she had her AirPods in, and used a "Hey Siri" command to call 911. An operator was able to stay on the ...
AirPods Pro Gen 3 Mock Feature ugly yellow

AirPods Pro 2 Could Beat AirPods Max Sound Quality

Monday January 24, 2022 2:15 am PST by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro could deliver higher fidelity audio than the AirPods Max over-ear headphones, despite being comparatively small in-ear buds, recent reports have suggested. In a recent note to investors, seen by MacRumors, TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that the second-generation AirPods Pro will offer improved audio quality thanks to support...
iCloud General Feature

Developers Unhappy With Bug Causing iCloud Unreliability

Monday January 24, 2022 10:15 am PST by
A number of developers are upset with an increasingly problematic iCloud server issue that is causing some apps that have implemented iCloud support to fail to sync properly. As outlined on the Developer Forums and on Twitter, there are CloudKit connectivity issues that have been occurring since November. Some users of apps that have iCloud support built in are seeing the following message:...
top stories 2022jan22

Top Stories: Spring Apple Event Rumors, Apple Opposes Sideloading, and More

Saturday January 22, 2022 6:00 am PST by
As we roll into the latter half of January, we're starting to hear more about a potential spring Apple event, which is likely to take place in March or April. There are a number of potential announcements on deck, so an event would be a good opportunity for Apple to get them all out there. We've also been going back and forth on some iPhone 14 rumors, and we've taken a look at a number of...