Facebook Says Apple’s Privacy Policy Could Cost it $10 Billion in 2022

Apple and Facebook

On Wednesday, Facebook had some bad news to share, reporting a first-ever decline in the number of daily users. The company tried to shift part of the blame for its weak performance on Apple, stating that the iPhone maker’s privacy policy makes it harder for other platforms and apps to track users across other apps. Facebook went so far as to predict that Apple’s privacy policy could make it poorer by $10 billion in 2022.

Impact of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency Policy

Facebook CFO David Wehner expressed his concerns with Apple’s App Tracking Transparency policy that was introduced last year. The policy requires apps to explicitly ask users for permission to track them across other apps and platforms. If the user declines, the app developer will not be able to access the Identity for Advertisers, or IDFA, that lets developers collect personalized ad data and display targeted ads. Wehner said that Apple’s privacy measures will adversely impact Facebook’s business in 2022.

We believe the impact of iOS overall is a headwind on our business in 2022. It’s on the order of $10 billion, so it’s a pretty significant headwind for our business. We’re just estimating what we think is the overall impact of the cumulative iOS changes to where the 2022 revenue forecast is. If you aggregate the changes that we’re seeing on iOS, that’s the order of magnitude. We can’t be precise on this. It’s an estimate.

Apple Playing Favorites?

The Facebook CFO also accused Apple of playing favorites with Google, saying that the iPhone maker exempts browsers from asking users for permission to track them across other apps and websites.

We believe Google’s search ads business could have benefited relative to services like ours that face a different set of restrictions from Apple. And given that Apple continues to take billions of dollars a year from Google Search ads, the incentive clearly exists for this policy discrepancy to continue.

Our Take

Just a few months back, it was reported that Facebook was “allowed to keep sharing user-level signals from iPhones, as long as that data is anonymized and aggregated rather than tied to specific user profiles.” It appears that the social media giant wants a bigger piece of the user-data pie. At the end of the day, user data is a precious commodity for Big Tech. It will never stay private as long as we keep using ‘free’ apps such as Facebook and Google.

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