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Facebook criticizes Apple’s data protection changes on iOS with full-page newspaper advertisements

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Facebook today publicly criticized Apple’s upcoming iOS privacy changes in full-page newspaper ads. “We stand up for small businesses everywhere against Apple,” read the headline of an ad in the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal today. Bloomberg News reports that the ads are related to Apple’s privacy changes for iOS 14 that are making it difficult for companies like Facebook to target users with ads.

Developers will need to ask iOS 14 users for permission to collect data and will soon be able to track it through mobile apps and websites on an iPhone and iPad. Apple had planned to implement these changes with the initial release of iOS 14 in September, but delayed enforcement until early next year. These changes will impact Facebook’s advertising business, and in particular its developer and corporate advertising network, as end users are more likely to turn off tracking prompts.

Facebook claims that Apple’s changes will be “devastating to small businesses” that rely on its advertising network to generate sales. The newspaper ads direct small businesses to the speak up for small business Facebook site, where a number of business owners share their thoughts on the changes at Apple. “Small businesses deserve to be heard,” writes Facebook. “We hear your concerns and stand by you.”

While Apple didn’t respond directly to today’s newspaper ads, the company responded to similar claims made by Facebook last month. The iPhone manufacturer accused Facebook of “disregarding the privacy of users”. Firmly believing that its iOS 14 privacy policy will be enforced in early 2021, Apple previously stated that it is “committed to ensuring that users can choose whether or not to allow an app to track them”.

Apple introduced new App Store Privacy Labels this week that shed light on how iOS apps use your data. In particular, Facebook’s iOS app’s privacy label spans multiple pages, listing all of the data that can be used to track you across apps and websites from other companies.

These full-page newspaper ads are the latest in a public dispute between Facebook and Apple over privacy, policies, and more. Facebook slammed Apple’s App Store policies earlier this year after it had to remove a mini-game feature in order to pass Apple’s strict App Store approval process. Facebook also welcomed the EU’s new Digital Markets Act (DMA) and Digital Services Act (DSA) this week. Both laws introduce new rules for digital platform owners and aim to force companies to quickly remove illegal content from the internet.

“We hope that the DMA also sets Apple limits,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement to CNBC. “Apple controls an entire ecosystem from the device to the app store to apps and uses this power to harm developers and consumers as well as large platforms like Facebook.”

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