Apple's Privacy Measures Have Led To An Approximate USD $10 Billion Loss For Social Media Platforms As A Whole

Apple's App Tracking/Transparency features have reportedly cost social media platforms across the board a total of USD $9.85 billion in revenue, as per FT.

Tracking and Transparency has been a hot topic in tech circles ever since it's introduction to the iOS 14 back in 2020. The features, for those unaware, essentially make it so that Apple product users share no form of information with third party applications without explicit consent being provided. How does this affect social media platforms? One word: advertising.

Data trackers and third party companies, harvest important and personal data from users, such as browser history and location data. They then use such data to aim targeted ads at users, hoping that relevancy drawn from such information will lead to higher sales. Which, while turning out to be a surprisingly efficient marketing scheme, is both fully immoral as well as harmful. User privacy has been made into a myth by these advertisers and their actions.

Naturally, social media platforms give such advertisers a rather major edge. Since users can't physically object to the likes of essential cookies or such data being harvested, such platforms can allow targeted ads to run amok. Or, better yet, they can harvest data themselves and sell it to third party companies, cutting out both the middle man and a larger part of the profits. Again, doing so by absolutely crushing user privacy and online safety in the process is rather disturbing. Sure, such companies claim that user data is safe with them, but researches have also revealed that the likes of Facebook freely share user data with the US government as well, so take such company words with a grain of salt.

Apple's features have, if not derailed, then certainly stalled any large scale expansion of targeted ads a whole. Naturally, not all social media platforms met these new updates with a positive reception. Facebook particularly threw the megacorporation version of a hissy fit, leading a mass online attack against the features. In some of these posts and interviews, Facebook even framed itself as a champion of smaller, indie applications that can no longer earn well enough since Apple lets users stopper their ads.

However, the question I wish to pose is this: should any system of monetary gain built upon non-consensually exploiting other individuals even be active in the first place? Many online discussions frame this new development of social media platforms losing USD $9.85 billion as a bad thing. However, this money was gained by companies already too big for their own good, and by propagating an industry that forcefully steals data from users that don't want to give it up. Ultimately, Apple's Tracking/Transparency features are a step in the right direction, and deserve praise accordingly.

Creator: CHANDAN KHANNA | Credit: AFP/Getty Images

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