Facebook Throws in the Towel and Complies With iOS 14's New Tracking and Transparency Features

Facebook has, for now, conceded defeat against Apple as emails have been sent out to businesses, asking them to comply with the iOS 14's new transparency features.

This statement was long in the making. Ever since Apple announced the Tracking and Transparency feature for their new operating software, iOS 14, Facebook has more or less been rampaging. Essentially, what App Tracking Transparency, as it's labelled, boils down to is giving users more agency in how their information is being used. Dividing shared information on apps into different categories (location tracking, data tracking, etc.), it then allows users to exhibit more control in what information they wish to share. With how much information users keep stored online, this is not only an entirely reasonable measure, it's also a necessary one to ensure safety.

Facebook, however, begs to differ. Since the announcement of the App Tracking Transparency, it's been taking continuous shots at the feature and all of its disadvantages. Entire blog posts and (hilariously) full-page newspaper ads in publications such as The New York Times have been dedicated to calling Apple a sham for toting such features. Facebook, envisioning itself as a champion of small businesses and start-ups, has constantly belittled these new security measures as restrictive, considering how indie developers heavily rely on gathering user information for advertising purposes, which make up the only relevant revenue stream for them.

Facebook's downright laughable attempts at playing the hero aside, some details are very clear from these interactions. Number one, Facebook's rather worried about how it's own gathering of user data will be lambasted in these proceedings. Recently, a policy change in WhatsApp also made it transparent that Facebook (the former's parent company) will be extracting user data from the app for it's own purposes.

The other reason is that Facebook and companies like it are the reason that such heavy user information reliance exists. These mega-corporations have made an insane amount of money by establishing and maintaining the status quo. The very indie developers that Facebook pledges to protect are forced to play along with advertising regulations that it has, if not founded, helped establish.

Apple's new feature is expected to roll out in early 2021, with extra time having been given to developers as they update transparency in attempts to keep in line with the new terms and regulations imposed on them. Facebook seems to have finally tapped out, as the looming threat of expulsion from the Apple Store seems to harsh a price to pay. Let's hope that these features prove to be worth the entire hassle surrounding them.


Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

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