Facebook's own employees are pushing back on its attacks against Apple

Friday, 25 Dec, 2020

Aren't we anxious that our stance protecting [small- and medium-sized businesses] will backfire as people see it as "Facebook protecting their own business" instead?

The privacy war between the two erupted a week ago.

Facebook, for now, tracks users between apps.

"Since launching this effort we have heard from small businesses literally around the world who are anxious about how these changes could hurt their businesses", Zandy said.

Of all the privacy-preserving goodies Apple promised to roll into the iOS 14 update, its so called "Tracking Transparency" alerts were probably the most controversial, stirring up enough pushback from fellow tech giant Facebook that the feature ended up being delayed past its original autumn deadline.

To this, Apple said that it was protecting the interests of its own users and was reinstating within their hands the power to decide who could track their movements and use their data.

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an global digital rights group appealed to Google to follow Apple's move of introducing an anti-app tracking feature and to come up with a similar step to protect user privacy. However, some Facebook employees are reportedly complaining about what they perceived to be a self-serving campaign. Facebook recently published a full-page ad in prestigious newspapers like The Wall Street Journal and New York Times to criticise Apple for its iOS 14 provisions, and stated that Cupertino's policies would hurt small businesses which rely on Facebook's targeted ads feature to gain visibility.

To briefly recap, the idea of Apple's so-called "AppTrackingTransparency framework" - or just ATT for short - is to give users control over the amount of data that the apps on their phones are allowed to hoover up. The rest goes to well known data brokers, like Facebook and Google, or some unheard shady companies. It is rumored to be released in March. Apple notes that only approved researchers will be able to get their hands on them and that they're only "intended for use in a controlled setting".

'We welcome in-app advertising and are not prohibiting tracking.

We're not trying to sweep that under the rug. As per internal comments on Facebook's private message boards and presentations that were accessed by BuzzFeed News, many employees are questioning the pro-business approach taken by Facebook in its tussle with Apple.

People want "privacy", Facebook objecting here will be viewed with cynicism.

Facebook had slammed Apple over the summer, saying the changes will cripple app makers' ability to make money from targeted advertising.

Apple CEO Tim Cook hit back Twitter the next day, tweeting that Apple believes its customers should have a choice in how their data should be used.