CEO Tim Cook has hit back at Facebook, following the social network’s vocal criticism of Apple’s privacy changes in iOS 14, which gives users more control over whether they’re tracked around the web.
In the new version of the operating system, Apple has added an App Tracking Transparency feature. When opening an app, Apple sends users a badge notification asking users whether they want to allow companies like Facebook to track users across apps and websites outside of the service.
Users can also choose “Ask App not to track”, which in theory should prevent Facebook and other apps from doing so. It’s similar to other pop-ups features which forces apps to ask users’ permission to use their location, for example.
Facebook has (somewhat laughably) attempted to seize the moral high ground by claiming Apple’s policy will damage small businesses who rely on this tracking to secure advertising.
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The company also does some mental gymnastics to claim the decision is actually because Apple wants those companies to turn to subscription based models, which means Cupertino will make more money from in-app purchase cuts.
It published a blog post on the manner and took out some full-page adverts in newspapers to criticise the policy, but Tim Cook isn’t about to let that stand. In a tweet on Thursday, the Apple CEO said iOS 14 isn’t stopping Facebook from tracking its users, it now has to ask them first. Burn!
Facebook has, of course, been critical of other privacy based changes rolled out by Apple recently; including an App Store update introducing nutrition label-style information that informs users how their data is being used.
Facebook owned WhatsApp said: “While providing people with easy to read information is a good start, we believe it’s important people can compare these ‘privacy nutrition’ labels from apps they download with apps that come pre-installed, like iMessage.
“We think labels should be consistent across first and third party apps as well as reflect the strong measures apps may take to protect people’s private information.”