Affiliate Disclosure
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read our ethics policy.

Facebook says it has 'no choice' but to comply with Apple privacy feature

Credit: Facebook

Facebook is continuing its campaign against a planned Apple privacy feature in 2021, but told businesses in an email that it has "no choice" but to comply with the iOS 14 change.

The feature in question makes a type of advertiser tracking explicitly opt in for users. Facebook has launched a full campaign against the feature, including full-page newspaper ads claiming that it could hurt small- and medium-sized businesses.

In an email sent to Facebook business users seen by iMore, the social media giant continued that campaign, stating that the opt-in prompt would have "hard-hitting implications across targeting, optimization, and measuring campaign effectiveness for businesses that advertise on mobile devices and across the web."

"Apple's changes will benefit them, while hurting the industry and the ability for businesses of all sizes to market themselves efficiently and grow through personalized advertising," Facebook continued. "We believe that personalized ads and user privacy can coexist."

While Facebook says it disagrees with the privacy feature, it told business users that it has "no choice" but to adopt the prompt. It added that if it doesn't comply, it could risk removal from the App Store.

In the coming weeks, Facebook says it will offer more guidance and advice to help businesses prepare for the coming change. If users do opt out of advertiser tracking, Facebook said, it could result in "potentially reduced ad effectiveness and limitations on measurement."

Previously, Facebook estimated that the feature could see advertising revenue drop by as much as 60%.

Initially planned for a launch in iOS 14, Apple delayed implementation of the anti-tracking prompt until 2021 to give businesses and advertisers more time to prepare for the feature.

Although some businesses reliant on advertising — including Facebook — have rallied against the feature, some privacy groups and organizations have praised Apple for its implementation.

Mozilla, the maker of Firefox, launched a campaign thanking Apple for protecting privacy. Digital civil rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation praised Apple for implementing the feature and called Facebook's campaign against it "laughable."

A report from December also indicated that there is some internal disagreement about the anti-Apple campaign within Facebook. Some employees reportedly believe that Facebook's attacks are unjustified and could backfire on the social media giant.

The anti-tracking transparency feature is slated for release in early 2021, though an exact date isn't currently clear.