Apple defends delay of privacy function, criticizes Facebook
Apple on Thursday criticized Facebook and other internet giants for their ad targeting practices in response to a letter challenging the iPhone maker’s decision to delay a new privacy feature.
Cupertino, California-based tech company criticized From Facebook focus on advertising and user tracking, according to a written response sent to several human rights and privacy organizations, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Human Rights Watch:
In contrast, Facebook and others have a very different approach to targeting. Not only do they allow grouping of users into smaller segments, but they use detailed data about online browsing activity to target ads. Facebook executives have made clear that their intention is to collect as much data as possible on both their own and third-party products to develop and monetize detailed profiles of their users, and this disregard for user privacy continues to expand to include more than their products.
Apple’s letter, reviewed by Bloomberg News, defended the company’s decision to delay a iPhone feature that requires users to grant explicit permission before allowing apps to track them for advertising purposes. The upgrade was added as part of the enterprise iOS 14 operating system in September, but the requirement that all applications use it was delayed until early 2021 after several developers, including Facebook, said the change would hurt their businesses.
Human rights and privacy organizations criticized the delay in a letter earlier this year to Apple. “This means that these privacy protections will not be available during the critical weeks leading up to and after the 2020 US elections, when people’s data can be used to identify them with personalized political ads,” they wrote.
Jane Horvath, Apple’s global chief privacy officer, said the company delayed the requirement to “give developers the time they indicated they needed to properly update their data systems and practices.” Apple remains “fully committed” to the feature, he added.
Facebook responded Thursday afternoon with a lengthy statement accusing Apple of trying to distract users from its own privacy concerns. The social network also accused Apple of using its size to prevent competitors such as Facebook from running its advertising business.
“They are using their dominant position in the market to prefer their own data collection, while making it almost impossible for their competitors to use the same data,” Facebook said in the statement. “They claim it’s about privacy, but it’s about profit.”