Home Business Facebook blasts Apple in new ads over iPhone privacy change

Facebook blasts Apple in new ads over iPhone privacy change

Facebook on Wednesday ran ads, published a new website and ran a blog post outlining its arguments opposing Apple over a privacy change that it claims “threatens the personalized ads that millions of small businesses rely on to find and reach customers.” 

Facebook, in its blog post, argued that Apple’s new tracking rules are “about profit, not privacy,” and said it believes Apple is behaving anticompetitively by using control of the App Store in a way that benefits its bottom line at the expense of developers and small businesses.

The company is running print and digital ads in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post that say: “We’re standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere.” It also has a new website on an upcoming change to iOS 14 that affects how apps can use ad-tracking tools with Apple’s ad identifier, the IDFA.

“Without personalized ads, Facebook data shows that the average small business advertiser stands to see a cut of over 60% in their sales for every dollar they spend,” Facebook’s print ad reads. “While limiting how personalized ads can be used does impact larger companies like us, these changes will be devastating to small businesses, adding to the many challenges they face right now.”

The ad leads readers to a link for a website on Facebook for Business, which includes video of interviews from business owners speaking out about the ad change. It includes explanations of what will happen, and a “toolkit” to make posts with the hashtag “#SpeakUpForSmall” to talk about the change. 

Apple will soon be making a huge change to settings on users’ iPhones in the name of privacy, and it will fundamentally change mobile advertising on those devices. It will take a privacy option that was previously buried deep in users’ phones and put it front and center when they open an app, which is expected to dramatically impact the ability of advertisers to target ads the way they have been since people likely won’t opt in.

Facebook has been outspoken about the change, accusing Apple with its iOS changes of moving the free, ad-supported internet into paid apps and services, where Apple can take its 30% cut, and crushing small businesses’ ability to do personalized advertising.

In its blog post, Facebook also made the consumer-facing argument that apps and websites that were once free may start charging people for services or be forced out of business because they can no longer offer free products supported by advertising. 

“Paying for content may be fine for the well off, but many people just don’t have room in their budget for these fees,” the blog post says.

Facebook reassured investors that it will not be severely impacted by Apple’s change to iOS.

“We will be fine,” said Facebook VP of Ads and Business Products Dan Levy on a call with reporters Wednesday. He said the company has already been factoring this into its expectations for Facebook’s overall business, which he called “large and diverse.” But said the impact will be greater on creators and small businesses.

Also Wednesday, Facebook accused Apple of using its power to “harm developers and consumers” as it welcomed draft laws outlined by the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU. The laws introduce rules for platforms that act as “gatekeepers” in the digital sector, while the Digital Services Act is designed to address illegal and harmful content by asking platforms to quickly take it down.

Apple was did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday morning.

This story is developing.