Facebook Blames Apple for Its Ad Business Woes Amid Escalating Feud

Image Credit: Facebook

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Is it ethical to take someone’s personal data, then shove targeted ads in front of them that earn you billions of dollars, all in exchange for letting them use your social media network?

That’s the crux of the heated dispute between Facebook and Apple taking center stage in Silicon Valley. On Wednesday, the drama spilled out onto the stock market, when Facebook accused the iPhone manufacturer of stymying its advertising business, warning investors that its bottom line could take a hit thanks to Apple’s meddling.

To Track or Not to Track, That is the Question

Companies like Facebook have built their entire business models around delivering personalized ads to users, highly dependent on terabytes of personal data. But earlier this year, Apple updated its iPhone and iPad software to stop apps from tracking users without their explicit consent, and the change is likely to shut off the social network’s access to data from millions of users.

Facebook went on the offensive Wednesday, claiming Apple’s privacy update has caused the social network to inadvertently under-report customer conversions like sales or downloads to advertisers:

  • All told, Facebook said the measurement of ad performances was 15% worse because of the privacy change.
  • Facebook, which has publicly accused Apple of implementing the software update to hinder competitors rather than to enhance user privacy, said its advertisers are being misled to think their ads aren’t as effective.

Regular Robin Hoods: Both Apple and Facebook, whose CEOs could dive into pools of gold like Scrooge McDuck, claim to be fighting for the little guy. Apple is championing the common man’s privacy online, while Facebook is defending the small business owner trying to compete in a vast digital marketplace.

Not Zuck’s Best Week: Facebook shares fell nearly 4% Wednesday, and the firm’s Oversight Board announced this week it is reviewing a secret program that let high profile users break the social network’s rules without punishment. CEO Mark Zuckerberg was also accused of approving what is essentially a propaganda program that puts pro-Facebook content on users’ news feeds. And critics call him out of touch…