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For people reading this article and immediately passing judgements on Facebook, do remember that other networks/SDKs including Google, Applovin, Appsflyer - all capture the same information from the app which WSJ is reporting here. Of course, it makes the narrative softer if you blame all tech companies vs. their favorite whipping candidate (which is Facebook) these days.

Here is a question to consider. If Facebook doesn't do this and all other companies do and use that data for optimization and measurement purposes, won't FB unilaterally lose out? The solution is either no one does it or everyone does it. There is no in between.




You're probably right but this is indicative of our increasing distrust of Facebook. They lie all the time about what they're doing with our data. So can we as developers trust them any more than the average user given their demonstrable willingness to abuse that trust? I personally think not.


It is the same with Google who is collecting and using the exact same data from 3rd party apps as Facebook and is equally opaque on how they use that data. Why do you have different principles when it comes to privacy to judge FB and Goog?


> Why do you have different principles when it comes to privacy to judge FB and Goog?

Why do you assume anyone has? Even if some do, why should the ones that don't have to answer to your assumptions?

When a thief gets caught, and they say "why don't you care about the other thieves?", nobody honors that with an answer.


Not the same analogy


I'm not equating collecting data with theft, I might as well have used mass murder or a parking violation. That someone criticizes FB doesn't mean they don't also criticize similar things, or the whole category, that's really all I'm saying.

Hey, you could even use something positive as example, e.g. that someone says something nice about X doesn't justify the assumption that they wouldn't also appreciate similar qualities in or achievements by Y. Criticism or praise, the principle is the same.


I didn’t once mention Google so I’m not sure what about my comment makes you think I have different principles for Google when it comes to privacy.


The solution is new laws preventing any company from doing it. As you point out, anything voluntary is doomed to fail.


Totally agree. Either put in regulations or mobile OSes move away from device IDs for tracking to something more transient - which makes it very difficult for FB and Goog to ID users accurately.


I believe iOS already does this - different apps are given different unique IDs. But I'm sure it's possible to match back up again when you also have IP addresses, user agents, cookies and so on.


No - they do not. All apps pass in the same IDFA or device ID today.


> The solution is either no one does it or everyone does it. There is no in between.

This is the classic race to the bottom, and it's not a valid defence in my excuse.


We are currently racing to the bottom by being quiescent.




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