Zuckerberg: Facebook could be in “stronger position” after Apple’s tracking change | GeekComparison

Apple CEO Tim Cook on stage at an Apple event in September 2018.

Apple CEO Tim Cook on stage at an Apple event in September 2018.

With the major change in Apple’s app tracking policy imminent, Chinese companies received a warning from Cupertino that their attempts to evade the change will not be successful. At the same time, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg seemed to be shifting his coverage of the change.

Several months ago, Apple announced that users must sign up for IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers), a tool advertisers use to identify and track users across apps and websites. If users log in, it will continue as normal. But if they decline, the app in question will not be able to use that tracking method. The change will apply to all iPhone and iPad apps and will take effect in full in iOS 14.5, which is out sometime in the coming weeks.

ByteDance, Baidu and others are pushing back

Press coverage so far has focused on US and European countries struggling with the change, most notably Facebook, which ran ads and explored the possibility of an antitrust lawsuit to challenge Apple’s decision. Several reports in recent days have indicated that some major Chinese tech companies are no less determined to fight or circumvent Apple’s new policies.

Baidu, Tencent and ByteDance are among the Chinese tech companies looking for workarounds. Bloomberg reports that these companies have sought multiple ways to collect data and track users, despite Apple’s policies, including fingerprinting, “using device-specific information such as the IMEI number and location to uniquely identify to create.” And they are also testing a system called CAID. Developed by a government think tank and the China Advertising Association, this system can be used “as a substitute if the user’s IDFA is not available”.

The companies’ efforts led to Apple releasing a statement clarifying that the upcoming changes apply to all apps from companies around the world, not just apps developed and maintained in the United States:

The App Store terms and guidelines apply equally to all developers worldwide, including Apple. We believe that users should be asked for their consent before being tracked. Apps determined to ignore the user’s choice will be rejected.

The actions of these companies nevertheless threaten to put Apple in a difficult position. China accounts for at least 15 percent of Apple’s business. While it is too early to make absolute predictions and it depends on the role the Chinese government chooses to play in this, it is likely that this situation could escalate to the point where Apple would have to make a decision to continue doing business there. or change course. to establish special ad-tracking rules for that country that differ from those in other regions.

Zuckerberg changes tune

Speaking in a Clubhouse chat on Thursday, Zuckerberg took a more positive stance on Facebook’s ability to thrive with the impending change. “We will be in a good position,” he said. “We’ll make it.”

Facebook had previously run full-page newspaper ads suggesting Apple’s change could fatally injure countless small businesses, and Facebook CFO David Wehner stated last year that the change would lead to a 50% drop in its lucrative Audience Network advertising business.

Zuckerberg also took an aggressive initial stance against the change in the company’s latest quarterly earnings call, and The Information reported that he was working with legal counsel to build an antitrust suit against Apple as a way to counter the policy change.

But yesterday Zuckerberg went so far as to say:

We may be even stronger if Apple’s changes encourage more companies to trade more on our platforms by making it harder for them to use their data to find the customers who want to use their products outside of our business. platforms.

While the coverage varies, the companies’ planned actions don’t seem to change. Apple will still require Facebook’s apps to ask users for permission to track them, and Facebook still plans to agree to the change so it can continue to make its apps and services available to iOS users.

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