Facebook is attacking Apple with full-page newspaper ads.

We're standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere
Image: @DaveStangis

What happened: Facebook is running some ads on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, that say: “We’re standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere.”

But why: The story goes a little back. Your phone has a unique code which advertisers use to identify you to tell if their ads are effective. Facebooks and thousands of developers use this code, called Identification for Advertisers (IDFA). But back in June, Apple announced that it will prevent advertisers from using this code without explicit permission from users. Starting early 2021.

Basically, this means: Facebook will now have to ask you before it can use these data. And a LOT of people are expected to say “no thanks” when it asks. So much so that Facebook is expected to lose ~50% of the revenue it gets from here.

So, what Facebook’s doing: Stopping to use IDFA codes altogether, says Facebook.

After effects: Facebook’s own advertising business won’t be as damaged, but it’s advertising clients, developers and small businesses that depend on it will suffer. And that’s what Facebook is taking a stand against.

The big picture: Apple wants to be portrayed as the saviour of digital privacy. Because, as it looks like, it sells more iPhones that way. And also maybe to “use privacy as a weapon to hurt competition,” to quote the US Lawmakers.

On the other hand, Facebook runs on people’s data. So to defend and look well-intentioned while doing so, they’re attacking Apple by saying it will hurt small businesses who rely on FB ads.

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