Last month Apple announced that iOS users would not be allowed to be tracked by third-party apps in order to be sent targeted ads unless they agreed to be tracked. Naturally, this set off the ire of advertising dependent Facebook and the latter is preparing a major legal attack on Apple. We'll get to that later. Right now we want to tell you that Apple will launch this new privacy feature with the beta versions of the next iOS app. The public version of the app should be released this spring according to The Verge, which was told this information from Apple.
The new feature, given a moniker of App Tracking Transparency, was originally going to debut on iOS 14 when the latter was released last September. Instead, Apple decided to push the feature back to a 2021 launch. Back in December, Apple explained the reason for App Tracking Transparency by saying, "We believe that this is a simple matter of standing up for our users. 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 Information says that Facebook has been preparing an antitrust lawsuit against Apple alleging that the company took advantage of the iPhone's popularity to force developers to follow the new privacy rules. The suit reportedly notes that developers are being forced to follow the App Tracking Transparency rules or lose their listings in the App Store. As it turns out, Apple's own apps don't need to follow the new rules. We should point out that this suit has yet to be filed by Facebook and there is no guarantee that it will. However, we would be remiss if we didn't point out that the social media network garnered nearly $85 billion in revenue from advertising last year.
Even with Apple's App Tracking Transparency system, users can still be tracked using other information even if they don't opt-in to allow tracking. But this information cannot be shared with others. Apple is also making sure that developers can't punish those who won't opt-in to tracking by making sure that those who say "no" don't lose some of the functionality of their apps. Developers also cannot try to bribe users to opt-in by handing out perks or giveaways.
Yesterday, during Facebook's fourth quarter conference call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, "Apple has every incentive to use their dominant platform position to interfere with how our apps and other apps work, which they regularly do to preference their own. This impacts the growth of millions of businesses around the world, including with the upcoming iOS 14 changes. Apple may say they’re doing this to help people but the moves clearly track their competitor interests."