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Facebook war with Apple becomes public

The social media giant also hosted a news conference in which small business owners reiterated its case for them

Facebook, Apple

Facebook has launched a series of full-page advertisements and a news conference as its war with Apple over advertising becomes public.

Earlier this year, Apple announced it planned to ask users if they want their data to be shared for targeted, personalised advertising in changes to iOS 14.

Apple’s move will hurt Facebook, which has warned it could cut the money earned through its advertisement network by half. Facebook primarily makes its money – US$21.5 billion in the third quarter of 2020 – by selling advertising space on its various social media platforms.

Dan Levy, Facebook’s Vice President of Ads and Business Products, has written a blog post entitled ‘Speaking Up for Small Business’.

He said Apple’s new iOS 14 policy will have a harmful impact on many small businesses, suggesting Facebook needs it to be possible to track users’
activities across other apps and websites in order to help its advertisers target their posts at those people who would most likely be responsive.

“Small businesses have small budgets. For these small budgets to work, they have to be targeted at the customers that matter to small businesses,” Levy wrote.

“By dramatically limiting the effectiveness of personalized advertising, Apple’s policy will make it much harder for small businesses to reach their target audience, which will limit their growth and their ability to compete with big companies.”

Preventing the tracking “truly impacts” not Facebook, but local businesses– like a coffee shop, small retail or a startup event planner – because they would not be able to afford campaigns that would need to be seen by more people to generate the same amount of sales, Levy argued.”Yes, there will be an impact to Facebook’s diversified ads business, but it will be much less than what will befall small businesses,” he added.

Facebook paid for full-page advertisements in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. It also hosted a news conference in which small business owners reiterated its case.

The technology company further alleges Apple’s move is about forcing people to use Apple’s own advertising platform, which it claims is exempt from the new rules. Apple denies the allegation.

Facebook also argues that digital content like apps will need to move to payments and subscriptions instead of advertising, which Apple takes a 30 per cent cut from on iPhones. Apple refutes the allegation, stating Facebook is trying to deflect attention from scrutiny of its own businesses practices.

“Some companies are going to do everything they can to stop the App Tracking Transparency feature … or any innovation like it, and to maintain their unfettered access to people’s data,” Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi said in a recent speech.

“To say that we’re sceptical of those claims would be an understatement.”

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