Apple’s upcoming iOS 14 introduces with it a range of features that will let users control exactly what data each app can access – and this includes clipboard notifications and an option to disable tracking between apps as well. These features are already causing problems for some developers, and Facebook, in particular, is concerned about its ad business ahead of these changes.
According to a report by 9to5Mac, Facebook’s Chief Financial Officer, David Wehner told CNBC that they fear that iOS 14 will harm how Facebook operates its ads. And since a very large part of the company’s revenues comes from ads, any hindrance to the practice will hurt Facebook’s business.
Wehner said that they are trying to understand what these changes will look like once iOS 14 officially rolls out and how they will impact the company and the industry as a whole. But as far as what is already visible is that it is going to be harder for app developers and others to grow through ads on Facebook and other platforms.
The feature that Wehner was referring to in particular is an option on iOS 14 that allows users to disable tracking between apps. Developers use trackers to identify users on different apps and sites so they can be targeted with ads that are based on what you have accessed on your device. Even if iOS users leave this option enabled, third-party apps have to ask for permission to be able to track and collect personal data.
Apple explained that with iOS 14 they would need app developers to ask for permission before they track you or your device through apps and websites they do not own so as they can target you with the right ads, measure your actions through these ads and then sell/share your information with data brokers.
Wehner has argued that Facebook’s ad platform is critical for the small businesses that advertise on it as anyone can easily promote their products and services to millions of Facebook users. Facebook “forecasts revenue growth of 10% for the third quarter” but now with iOS 14 rolling in soon, the company expects to see a decline in the fourth quarter.
Facebook’s view is that targeted ads are a lifeline for small businesses, particularly at a time like this when the global pandemic has gravely disrupted the economy. An aggressive platform policy will “cut at that lifeline” Wehner said.