Facebook's iOS 14.5 privacy prompt will take weeks to roll out

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Facebook on Monday confirmed it will hew to Apple's new App Tracking Transparency rules by showing a permission prompt when its iOS app is first opened, though the company expects the feature rollout will take weeks.

The social network began to display the prompt, which asks users permission to track their movements beyond the Facebook app, to select users on Monday, but some won't see the message for weeks, the company said in a statement to CNET.

"We'll start rolling out the prompt to iOS 14.5 users today, but we will roll out the prompt over the course of a few weeks, so not all eligible users will see the prompt right away," a Facebook spokesperson said. "We're ramping this rollout globally to ensure everything works as expected."

The company noted some users have already seen the prompt, but declined to offer exact figures, the report said.

According to a screenshot of the notification provided by Facebook, users will be informed that iOS 14.5 requires developers to ask permission before tracking user data. The company notes collected data is used to display personalized ads, keep Facebook free of charge and support businesses that rely on ad revenue.

Facebook has waged a public war with Apple over App Tracking Transparency for months, claiming its institution will deal a major blow to the bottom lines of ad tech companies and stymie growth for small businesses.

Released today with iOS 14.5, ATT offers more granular control over app privacy by requiring developers to gain permission before tracking a user's device advertising identifier, or Identifier for Advertiser (IDFA) tag. Users are automatically opted out of tracking by default, though they can permit services on a case-by-case basis through the aforementioned dialogue box or system settings.

Many users are expected to opt for more privacy, leaving ad companies in search of new targeting technologies. In Facebook's case, the anti-tracking feature will block insight into a key metrics including view-through conversions, a technology that enables ad firms to measure the number of users who purchase goods after viewing, but not interacting with, an ad.

More recently, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in March said ATT could inadvertently drive more traffic to the social giant's various platforms.

"It's possible that we may even be in a stronger position if Apple's changes encourage more businesses to conduct more commerce on our platforms by making it harder for them to use their data in order to find the customers that would want to use their products outside of our platforms," Zuckerberg said at the time.