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Apple to delay privacy change threatening Facebook, mobile ad market (reuters.com)
308 points by shaabanban 10 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 236 comments

One thing that removes a lot of credibility from Apple's "for the good of the user" communication on this is that they broke out the personalization for their own ad network as an option, put it in a different location, and made it opt-out instead of opt-in.


Yeah, this is crazy: Settings -> Privacy -> Location Services -> (ALL the way to the bottom of the list, past all apps) System Services -> Location-Based Apple Ads. Oh, and if you have text size increased by any amount, “Ads” doesn’t even appear and it’s just “Location-Based Apple...” (on or off).

The harder something is to find and disable, the shadier it seems.

Apple definitely does shady stuff. Sure on privacy they are the better option, usually. But don't forget it recently came out that Siri was sending recordings to be analysed without the users knowledge. They also will only very begrudgingly fix design faults in their products. I recently was a victim of their flexgate issue and because I have the 15" MacBook Pro it isn't automatically covered. Other users with this issue are fighting Apple in a class action over it. You would hope that a company that makes as much money as Apple would stand behind their products better but unfortunately that's not the case.

That Siri sends recordings to humans for analysis without user consent is a myth. I went through a screen pointing out this is exactly what will happen, and buttons to opt in or out, during initial OS setup. This was a while ago, before iOS 14. The myth is likely perpetuated by people who do not use Apple devices.

I was going off this article: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/aug/14/apple-...

A former contractor who worked for Apple in Ireland told EU regulators that he heard highly personal conversations as part of a project that transcribed portions of Siri recordings to improve the feature’s voice recognition. Apple apologized after the infractions were revealed and said it had suspended the project while it implemented better practices.

I know of that case.

My point is that Apple disclosed to users that this will happen, so I am confused as to who would consider this an “infraction”.

I had to set up iOS multiple times (broke phone screens, got an iPad and so on), and as far as Siri was around I remember being informed.

During initial setup you have options to turn Siri on with continuous listening, on via button only (my preference), or off entirely. One tap and a short bit of text informs you of privacy implications, including that your voice recordings may be sent to and heard by humans in order to improve QoS.

I did not have to dig through a wall of ToS, it was a clear and concise paragraph set in large enough type that took single-digit seconds to read.

I wonder whether (1) I am missing some circumstances or a period of time where this was not the case, and therefore I should be offended as well, or (2) people are misinformed and piling on Apple for, as far as I’m concerned, little to no reason.

That change was mode after the whole thing blew up last year. It used to be that this feature was enabled by default, with no way to opt-out and was not clearly disclosed to the user.

I don’t remember that time, for as long as Siri existed I always recall there being a way to prevent my phone from auto-reacting to words (which I hate) during OS setup. Maybe I am mistaken.

Gross! Just to feed App Store and Apple News? Apple should kill that immediately, it's hypocritical.

Unfortunately, most large corporations are relatively immune to hypocrisy.

It's not hypocrisy they're immune from, it's consequences.

Holy hell that's shady as fuck. I would have never found that and I've gone out of my way to disable as much of this type of shit on my phone as possible. There's no way in hell the average user is ever going to stumble upon that setting.

I don't see "Location-Based Apple Ads" on my iPhone running iOS 14.

It's there for me on iOS 13.7: https://imgur.com/gJyId5P

It was on by default - I toggled it off.

It is off by default.

It's not off by default. I just reset an iPhone to check on 13.7. It's on by default.

Users have to manually "Opt out" as per Apple's own documentation: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202074

or https://web.archive.org/web/20200903215036/https://support.a...

It was on by default for me as well

On for me too.

Nobody in their right mind would turn this on.

Settings -> Privacy -> Apple Advertising (all the way down) > Personalized Ads

Fixed in iOS 14, at least.

I don’t have such a problem providing targeting data to Apple as I have to third parties. Frankly I can’t see myself letting an ecosystem become an integral part of my life if I do not trust the company behind it.

Sounds like this might also be the reason for this delay.

If Apple is indeed favouring their own ad services they might indeed be the target of very well funded antitrust-based legal campaigns. I assume the adtech companies would have at least threatened them with this.

So they are probably going to retune their own ad service to comply with the same before they go live with this change.

Was thinking the same. If the reason is to give Apple's ad services team time to make the adjustments, then that seems another strike on antitrust grounds. Timing not great to say the least.

If Apple is indeed rolling out their own ad program and giving themselves preferential access, it would be thermonuclear valley war.

Nobody cares about individual users in the end, once in 50 years you might get a politician who rises to a populist challenge.

But when you take 1/2 of some major adjacent-competitors money away, then it's war. The stakes are 10's of billions and every lobbyist, lawyer, marketer, PR person is going to be engaged.

I wouldn't quite speculate on Apple's motivations here, but it's a very real and big issue. They can screw you and I, and even Fornite, but Facebook? An then 'self deal' with their own ads? Even that is a risk.

Apple’s own ad service is long gone and won’t come back (if some sanity is still left in Apple’s board). They’re just playing nice with some core partners.

Apple has an ad service: https://searchads.apple.com/

Ads to install apps, shown in App Store and News apps.

App install ads are also Facebook’s main mobile ad market. This crackdown specifically block’s Facebook’s ability to show attribution of app purchases for their ads, while preserving that ability for Apple by default.

> while preserving that ability for Apple by default.

I think you mean by design. Ads above search results can be tracked because they're shown within the App Store, so they don't require looking at "who is this user" from within the downloaded app, they can just differentiate based on where it was placed, like Google Ads. The only case I can see here is "why does apple get to be the only ones with ads on search results" but then you're arguing the same point you'd use against Google, so it all comes down to what the potential Google antitrust lawsuit says and if the DOJ cares about this enough to later file suit against Apple.

The way I see it, this is not a particularly surprising move by Apple. There’s a clear financial gain from taking this ad revenue. The discussion should be focused on whether they should get away with it from an antitrust/market dominance perspective. Not giving them great PR because they found a way to spin it as good for privacy.

No apple is actually leaving their IDFA use on by default while turning other app’s idfa to default off.

That's perfect, I don't want my data to go somewhere I don't control and Apple already knows enough that it makes literally no difference but helps support indie developers as I'll be more likely to buy someone's app from a well-targeted add shown in App Store.

Those complaining it’s on by default are forgetting that exposing ad tracking as a setting that can be turned off is already a leap forward compared to shady practices across advertisement industry.

It’s a numbers game.

On by default -> financially the same as always on

Off by default -> financially doesn’t exist

You're forgetting

Not even exposed in the UI -> no one would ever complain about it

You’re right. Then is Apple going to use IDFA without asking while the others will have to ask?

Perhaps Apple will use the Apple ID to join your ad engagements with your App Store activity.

It looks like Apple's advertising targeting isn't using the same info that they're trying to withhold from third parties though. I actually have it off on my device so I can't see what the "View Ad Targeting Information" says (if I turn it back on, it says I have to wait 24 hours before it has the info to show me), but from the description it does show, it sounds like the ad target uses "account information and interactions with Apple services" for serving ads. Which is to say, this is information Apple already has, and all you're saying is "please don't use that info for serving ads". It does not sound like it reduces the information Apple has (which makes sense, any PII not necessary for running Apple's services is not sent to Apple except after undergoing differential privacy).

Compare this with third-party advertising, where the use of IDFA does explicitly hand information to third parties that they otherwise wouldn't have. For example, the Facebook SDK is integrated into a bazillion different apps, so Facebook can track a single user across all of these different apps even if the user doesn't use Facebook login (or if they use Facebook login for a single one of these apps, Facebook can then associate the usage of all the other apps with that same login too).

The two are not remotely equivalent.

Facebook’s big ad business on mobile is advertising to install apps. That’s also Apple’s ad business on mobile (ads shown on Apple News, and in the App Store itself). For Facebook to show attribution of ad conversions, they must do tracking “across apps” (from their app where the ad was clicked, to the advertiser’s app). For Apple to do the same attribution, they can call it “interactions with Apple services”, because the purchase is done through the App Store. In that sense, both are going after the same user actions but different language can be used to describe them.

What's crazy is that these are supposed to be complementary effects. The more apps that are installed on Apple's platform the more money that Apple makes, but apparently that's not enough for them.

Once way to think of this is as an effort get a greater than 30% cut on the App Store. One of the things I’m supposed to be purchasing with that cut as a developer is discoverability. If users search for my app by name and somebody else’s app comes up first, it starts to feel like 30% isn’t getting me the full offering.

Now, I might go buy some ads from Facebook, because they provide a good value there. In the future, my only choice will be Apple, who won’t have to compete on price anymore because they cornered the market.

They seem pretty equivalent to me. You have a site or service send usage information to an ad network and the ad network returns an ad to show. The only difference here is that in the case of Apple they own both the service and the ad network.

Yes that's correct. Apple is basically reducing the fidelity of the rest of the ad ecosystem to the level they're already at themselves.

One could argue that the initial policy was anti competitive because it artificially inflated Apple's offering over its competitors...

Probably was.

What's "Apple's offering"?

their own ad network, as described in top of this comment chain.

I don't even know what "Apple Advertising" is. Is it app store ads?

Except Apple shut down their ad network years ago, so that's not what these options are for.

I believe you're referring to iAd: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IAd

You're being downvoted because they still make money off of advertising:

"The iAd App Network was discontinued as of June 30, 2016.[8] Since then the technology lives on in both Apple News Advertising and App Store Search Ads.[9]"

Right, but they have no ad network, only ads on their own properties. That's why the settings are different, they're describing totally different things.

I think the settings should be combined, but Apple is in no way tracking users across sites, because they're not tracking users like that at all. Refusing to track users is the entire reason their "iAd" ad network failed!

> they broke out the personalization for their own ad network as an option, put it in a different location, and made it opt-out instead of opt-in.

If that is true, it absolutely contradicts Apple's claim that "Privacy is built in from the beginning":


Certainly seems to open the door for some creative PR campaigns by impacted apps.

I'd personally prefer not to have any of the ad tracking stuff, especially at the OS level.

Like it or hate it, app install ads often pay the best and are how a lot of free-to-the-user apps earn money.

Before the wave of whinging I'm not pro ads. I'm just pointing out this is a big disruption to the financial models of many free apps.

Ad campaigns nothing, that seems like a legal risk to me.

The biggest misconception is how and why ad IDs are used, what precisely the value of ad targeting is, how it impacts the user, the ad buyer, etc. People don't really seem to know anything about this stuff. If you spent even 1 minute articulating a falsifiable hypothesis about the impact of something like IDFA, you would have a much more interesting conversation that the typical Apple versus the world way this goes on HN.

Just curious... how does that remove credibility? Seems logical to put that option in one global place for the OS. Individual apps from the App Store don't have access at that level so there's no way they could give it the same priority. The only alternative I can see is if iOS has some way to set options per developer and that seems like a silly thing.

They do that because they don’t sell any of your info, unlike Facebook which should be opt in. The whole issue Apple has with FB is privacy and selling of your data. If apple was selling data and they needed opt out then you may have a point

Any source that Apple doesn’t/didn’t sell customers info?

I was actually considering a apple phone if they came through. This just put the nails in that coffin. I'll just stick with Android where I can install whatever I want for the most part.

> One thing that removes a lot of credibility from Apple's "for the good of the user" communication

I feel like taking billions from Google to be the default search engine on iOS also did that

(Re-posting on this thread)

What a bummer! As an iOS user, I was eagerly looking forward to this feature, wanting to tell others about it and how the upgrade to iOS 14 would be worth it just to clearly expose apps that want to track users.

I already have ad tracking limited in my settings (Settings->Privacy->Limit Ad Tracking), but that was something I had to explicitly turn on, and there’s no notice on which apps use the ID for advertising.

I (sort of) work in the advertising industry. I'm really excited to see this change, but the major players in the industry just weren't ready for it, and it would have been very chaotic with lots of money on the line.

I think waiting until early 2021 is better than having anything that depends on ad revenue see a huge dropoff until the industry figures things out.

> the major players in the industry just weren't ready for it

That's an excellent reason to do it.

That's a very cavalier attitude given how much of the consumer app ecosystem depends on ad revenue to survive. Having it drop precipitously over a very short span of time could trigger a chain reaction that might ultimately reduce the availability or utility of apps for consumers. It will also disproportionately harm the long tail of app developers.

I detest tracking just as much as anyone else here but I'm skeptical this is the right way to go about dealing with it. A more sensible system would give users the choice between accepting targeted ads or paying a fee for the service.

I'd be willing to bet that the vast majority of ad-based apps (without IAP of some kind) make less than $0.50 lifetime revenue on average from 90+% of users. Some quick checking suggests that the median total revenue for most apps is close to $0. Most apps would probably win out if they said "turns out ads don't work, would you be willing to pay $0.99". Even if they lost users, they'd gain revenue.

Whenever an unsustainable free service comes out on HN, and it's something people actually want, there's often a comment saying "this seems unsustainable, so I don't think I can count on it; please let us pay you". The same thing applies to apps.

I doubt lifetime revenue is less than $0.5 in general. I'd like to see statistics. Even if $0.5 is correct, do you think 1/2 of users pay $0.99? Looks like optimistic.

I'd say that's a good thing. I would further posit that some number above 90% of all apps on the respective app-stores are useless junk and need to be pruned immediately. Ads are a societal ill at this point (just look at what it's done to mobile gaming, or how somehow we have profitable websites seem to need to put ads on anyways e.g. Ebay).

Lots of "mights" and "coulds" there. Evidence please. :)

I hope the entire advertising targeting business goes bankrupt, and anything that depends on it goes with it.

Any computer I own (including a phone) is supposed to represent its users interests; It is not supposed to be some compromise between betraying their trust and making money for ad networks.

(Personally, I already have limit tracking enabled. And I use custom DNS filtering, and a bunch of other BS. But my friends and family shouldn't need to do that to have their phone refuse to give information about them)

Part of me (the emotional part) agrees with you. But without offering a human-nature compatible monetization mechanism to replace ad monetization, I'm sure you'll lose many things that you deeply value without acknowledging or understanding how they depend on that money.

It could probably be argued that "people in general" are willing to pay for services they value and that a few current generations have just been irreparably "mis-trained" to expect free services, but in any free-ish market economy businesses will be incentivized to offer services with costs as hidden from the user and as externalized as possible.

> I hope the entire advertising targeting business goes bankrupt, and anything that depends on it goes with it.

HN has become a rant fest whenever ad tech gets mentioned.

but this does fit the "minuscule but very vocal minority" trend of our times.

Note that HN does not do ads (except the totally unintrusive job listings) or tracking so it is logical for ad haters to come here :) it's one of the last places left still running on goodwill.

For that it's also one of the few sites I would consider paying a membership for.

I find it very hard to have sympathy for anyone working in the advertising industry. The same goes anyone that's sold out their users, compromising their privacy by tracking them no matter where they go, and psychologically manipulating them.

Does that mean figures out how to still track people using other means, contrary to their likely stated preference? Because that defeats the purpose.

Disappointed in Apple on this one.

What is the indication that the industry which privacy is against its current interest to be able to come up with a solution which would completely redefine it? I have someone close that works in a massive telco and talking to them I do not think they would think oh lets not sell these data and lose a lot of money becasue there is another feasible solution.

It's Settings->Privacy->Advertising (at the bottom)->Limit Ad Tracking, and looking that up reminds me that it's been a while since I last reset my advertising identifier, another option on that same page.

It does not expose anything, in the way it was designed every single app needs it.

Well it is effectively the same thing what your doing, I think it applies to every single app either way.

If it helps, Apple only starts to mandate support for the latest OS in February to April every year, so all of the apps that are tracking you wouldn’t have updated until then anyway.

It is a bit of a bummer, but people have lived without it for more than a decade, they will survive another few months. Or you could just help your friends disable it manually.

What about using Facebook in a browser like Firefox (not the app).

That's much worse because other visits can be tracked as well through to fingerprinting. The app (at least on iOS) is actually more controlled due to measures like these.

Disagreed. The app has access to a much more granular device fingerprint containing carrier name, battery status, accelerometer/magnetometer data (I've seen at least one nasty company exfiltrate such data in their SDK), etc which can directly be correlated by data collected by the malicious Facebook SDK that contaminates pretty much every other mainstream app. In contrast, the mapping between browser fingerprint and device fingerprint isn't a 1-to-1 and is a bit more fuzzy.

The only reason you are so desperate for this feature is that Apple refuses to let you install a firewall on the phone you supposedly own. Otherwise you could be running pihole today.

Not really. Pi Hole is great but it comes much later in the process and is an inexact process trying to filter out internet requests. The filter Apple has stops apps from being able to get the identifying data in the first place. It's a lot better.

PiHole only works insofar as tracking requests use a different domain. It’s great, but it’s not a panacea.

This would be different from a pi-hole, which counts entirely on separate domains.

I imagine Pihole is a just an example to illustrate a point. Once you have access to all network/http traffic, you can do an amazing amount of harm to ad-networks' ability to track and send you unwanted content. Imagine that kind of full access under the user's control. Not only that but you can cache/save/transform/manipulate how you receive the content you request on your device.

That's why the conspiracy-theorist in me thinks the tech companies have been pushing for HTTPs so heavily this past decade. It's "privacy" enabling sure, but at the same time makes it next to impossible to stop ad content and to break up tech data silos.

You could do that, maybe, but the typical non-technical user could not.

iPhones can easily have a Pi-Hole equivalent: https://nextdns.io/

No need for pi-hole, there’s an app for that and does exactly the same job.

How’ve you got it set up on not Apple? Sounds cool

I understand why they delayed, and it may be the right decision. However, tracking-by-default is a dark pattern in software, and it needs to be driven out.

In no other domain is implicit, cross-arena tracking by default acceptable. Computers _should be_ no exception.

> In no other domain is implicit, cross-arena tracking by default acceptable.

Maybe you don't think it should be acceptable, but it's the norm everywhere. Computers aren't an exception.

Your purchases are tracked by credit card companies. Your license plate is tracked by road cameras. Your financial history is tracked by credit bureaus. Your phone calls are tracked by your telephony provider.

And you haven't opted into any of them.

In fact, except for the annoying cookie pop-ups on websites, I've never encountered opt-in tracking anywhere in my life. Everything is tracking-by-default, and you're lucky if you get an option to opt out anywhere.

I think we're talking about a different kind of tracking. It's one thing if the data is collected for the purpose of billing (the telco needs to know who I called so they can charge me the correct price) or for exceptional circumstances (law enforcement, debugging logs for engineering, etc). It's another thing if this data is explicitly used against you to manipulate you better and waste your time with ads.

Most of the tracking you mentioned is done for purely functional purposes (the product/service can't work without knowing who you are, etc) where as the majority of online tracking is purely there for wasting people's time with ads.

Giving examples of a bad pattern doesn't make the pattern less bad. This should have never been the default behavior.

curiousllama said that implicit tracking was not allowed in any domain other than software. Don't move the goalposts.

In the US, at least, your license plate can get scanned by cameras driving around and you show up on security cameras (with improving facial recognition).

What's a domain analogous to computers without tracking? I suppose all those are "by computers" at the end of the day, but I can't think of anything I do that isn't tracked somehow.

that's scary to hear. where I live there was a very short lived experiment with facial recognition at a train station and when it ended it showed that the general public was not in favour of it.

Given the App Store antitrust lawsuit and "big bully" PR issue that Apple is facing, they probably realize that now would be a terrible timing for them to flex their muscles and crush a multi-billion dollar ecosystem (even if it's the ethical thing to do).

Facebook's concern isn't oriented around their revenue - it's about the 3rd party advertising ecosystem on mobile in general ($2B of FB's $80B revenue). FB and Google will take a small hit from their 3rd party mobile ad networks going away, but they still have their dominant 1st party businesses to fall back on.

Who this really hurts are the apps that don't directly sell their own ads and rely on a 3rd party network to monetize. Those apps' revenues will be chopped in half overnight, sending a shockwave throughout the entire mobile ecosystem.

FB and Google get poked in one eye, but most ad-supported apps will be blinded.

It also kills off all the smaller players in mobile advertising, of which there are many (mostly focused on gaming, because that's what makes money on mobile).

Apple's blog post about their plans:

"We are committed to ensuring users can choose whether or not they allow an app to track them. To give developers time to make necessary changes, apps will be required to obtain permission to track users starting early next year. More information, including an update to the App Store Review Guidelines, will follow this fall."


This reads as just another popup you'll need to click before you can use any app. Just like cookies.

This will be more similar to giving location or push permissions that a cookie warning. You have to actively opt-in to allowing an app access to your IDFA on an app-by-app basis. They can ask you to do this one time and if you say no the only way that setting will ever change is if you go to the iOS settings app and enable tracking for that app. Currently you can opt out on a system level. The change will make it opt in on an app level.

The pop-up is literally “allow tracking” and “disallow tracking” and disallowing does not give the advertisers any kind of information about cross-app usage. It is not something you can as a developer circumvent.

There are hundreds of ways to fingerprint you and your device, without an avertising ID. You just need a few (5-7?) To uniquely identify someone.

A few examples that come to my mind: Current battery level, typing speed, phone model, OS version, battery wear (guessable from charge/discharge rate), charge rate (depends on the charger), finger width, propensy to use features differently (scrolling, zooming, selecting text), clipboard contents, RTC lag, microbenchmark performance... System preferences alone is probably enough (brightness level, airplane mode, dark mode).

If a fingerprinting library is present in more than one app, I find it unlikely that both fingerprints couldn't be linked to the same user. If one of these apps has a log-in, they can probably link that up with the rest of browsing history, on-device and cross-device.

Sounds far-fetched? I don't think so. I rather think I'm underestimating the issue.

I think one technical answer to that would be to "taint" every measurement of a potential identifier, and track its usage across the program. If the app tries to submit information that is somewhat related, block it.

Alternatively, compute a score and block it above a certain threshold (that will be gamed, but could help a transition). Or use a RR-like mechanism to change the measurement to a dummy value, and replay up to the exfiltration point.

What you've said is accurate, but one thing that's different in this case compared to the web is Apple's walled garden.

The walled garden certainly has problems but in this case a real benefit is that Apple forbids these kinds of technical workarounds. You can implement them, but do you want to run the risk of your app being banned from the only distribution channel on iOS because of it?

That walled garden still appears to have major holes in its fences, as shown by the Facebook SDK having infected every single mainstream app for the sole purpose of stalking the user in the background (over time Facebook can correlate the traffic by date/time, IP address, device type, etc and link different instances of the SDK together).

Yes, but this what the feature is aiming to address. Apps that use the Facebook SDK will have to ask for permission to track the user and if the user says no they shouldn't intialize the Facebook SDK, at least not the parts that relate to ad analytics and tracking.

It seems to me that this feature only restricts access to the IDFA/Advertising ID. It does not prevent the app from loading a piece of malware that uses other means (device & network fingerprinting) to stalk you regardless of the availability of the IDFA.

Apple have been very clear about you being responsible for the SDKs you use and while the technical limitations are only about IDFA Apple have also stated that other methods of fingerprinting are not allowed when the user asked not to be tracked. Thus, App A that uses SDK B can be banned from the App Store if the user asked not to be tracked but B still tracks using something like fingerprinting.

> other methods of fingerprinting are not allowed when the user asked not to be tracked

We'll need to see how well this is enforced and whether they will challenge bullshit excuses. I can already imagine the Facebook SDK sending its usual amount of PII and them saying "this is only for fraud protection (or a similar BS reason) and we pinky-promise to never use this information for anything else".

It is something the advertisers do not want to do, as it would nuke their service from Apple’s platform.

Except there will be an option to deny tracking. Hopefully Apple will require and enforce a genuine free choice and opt-in.

With GDPR cookie warnings, you’re required to opt in, but everybody uses dark UI patterns to make you “opt in” (like forcing you to uncheck each tracker individually, and claiming it takes several minutes to “update your preferences”)

The problem with the GDPR is the lack of enforcement which allows criminal companies to get away with bullshit like this. With the potential of huge fines (and the fact that the cases seem very straightforward and there's plenty of strong evidence of a breach) I think the only explanation for this blatant lack of enforcement is that the same people who are supposed to enforce the law are in bed with those that break this same law.

Presumably you would only see it once after installing the app versus every time you visit a website with a cookie policy.

You can turn off being asked in settings in which case it will just look like you asked not to be tracked to every app.

Here's the technical detail that everyone seems to be missing: IDFA is an Apple API.


"The advertisingIdentifier is an alphanumeric string unique to each device, that you only use for advertising."

Apple created an API for advertisers that gives them a unique identifier, specifically for the purpose of tracking users. This has been available since iOS 6, released in 2012.

Shame, shame on advertisers for using the thing that Apple made for them to use!

If Apple cares so much about privacy, why did they make this in the first place? Where has Apple been for the past 8 years?

They made it all they could control it. Before this the advertisers were sneaking out other data like the Mac address etc. The advertiser I'd had always been opt in so it was progress for privacy.

> They made it all they could control it.

Didn't seem to work.

> The advertiser I'd had always been opt in so it was progress for privacy.

It's opt out: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202074

As much as I like iOS in this regard, it’s a shame Apple felt this threatened to delay this feature. I’m sure privacy is a high priority to Apple but when it comes to money, expect them to do this more often. Privacy users are already taking things into their own hands anyway, so this only hurts the tech novices.

Edit: It’s funny how on HN, you can tell the ones who get triggered when you say something disparaging about adtech. Just interesting to see here vs other tech media outlets.

Yeah, I'm curious which large partner or top 10 app provider said they'd delist on iOS if not given a stay of execution. The number of companies that could cause this decision is small.

It is more complicated than that. There is a whole industry that depends on tracking IDFA to function, it is not about being creepy, something simple as knowing if your marketing campaign is effective becomes very hard. On one side we have hoarders of data like Facebook and Google, on another side there are legitimate use cases like app publishers measuring marketing performance.

SKAdNetwork was poorly designed, it did not involve publishers and channels and till this week it was literally impossible to test. A 3 month period will allow all actors in the advertising industry to integrate and come up with solutions that protect the user's privacy.

If this was released in the current state, you are giving the whole advertising market in a silver plate to google and facebook, who because of their huge share of SDK integrations are much better prepared to overcome the limitations. The market would also shrink instantly, many publishers and channels would disappear, specially the small ones.

Even if it's just used to measure click throughs etc, as the user I'd still want to have the ability to choose whether to allow that. It's up to the ad business to convince me to do so. That they really want to use it for non-nefarious purposes.

As a user I really don't care whether they can measure what they want. The adtech business must realise they've undermined consumer confidence so much that the only reason they're getting away with it is that it's so hidden.

Though personally my trust is so far gone that I really want the whole advertising industry to die. But I'm pretty sure most people would still be OK with it, if it is proven to be done in a non-malicious way. I still hear a lot of "targeted ads are more useful because they annoy me less" from people around me :)

But really they have a LOT to make up for.

> There is a whole industry that depends on tracking IDFA to function

And hopefully that will become "was" at some point.

> it is not about being creepy

The ad industry is a poor judge of what's creepy; their interests are not aligned with user interests.

> A 3 month period will allow all actors in the advertising industry to integrate and come up with solutions that protect the user's privacy.

The advertising industry has had a very long time to come up with solutions to protect the user's privacy. The only way it'll ever happen is if it's inflicted upon them. The less ready they are, the better.

> hopefully that will become "was" at some point

> their interests are not aligned with user interests

How do you propose apps monetize going forward? The vast majority of users do not want to pay for the apps/utilities on their phones, but still appreciate the value these apps provide them nonetheless. Targeted advertising enables apps to provide these services to users for free by having marketing budgets front the cost. The removal of IDFA really only cripples the little guy, and speeds up the consolidation of wealth among Apple, Amazon, Google, and FB.

I'm curious what revenue model you would suggest for apps that wish to remain free, if not advertising-based?

> The vast majority of users do not want to pay for the apps/utilities on their phones, but still appreciate the value these apps provide them nonetheless.

Chicken and egg problem. There are enough free apps that they drag down user expectations for pricing. It's hard to figure out value on an absolute scale ("hmmm, is this worth $4?"), and easy to compare value on a relative scale ("wow, $8 seems expensive for an app"). Ads push the app market downwards.

> I'm curious what revenue model you would suggest for apps that wish to remain free

The same revenue model I'd suggest for any other kind of regularly produced content that can't charge or doesn't want to: patronage, subscriptions, sponsorships, merch, add-ons or regular updates that people want to pay for, services people want to pay for. Have you ever read some of the behind-the-scenes details from YouTube channels that support the people making them? Ads don't even come close to paying the bills, even if you're huge. Patronage, subscriptions, sponsorships, and merchandise do.

How is it a chicken and egg problem if we're in a post-ads world? Billions of people now have the expectation that content, utilities, and information can be made accessible to them, for free, by simply allowing ads in their feed. From the perspective of someone in a developed nation, the change to a patronage revenue model may seem trivial, but for the vast majority of the world this is a non-starter. You're arguing that information should paywalled, when it currently can exist free of charge.

Also re: the Youtube anecdote - YT ads actually pay out quite well, especially if you're huge. You usually see Patreons, etc. from the smaller channels or content creators that want to hit a certain quality of life/stability. The top 10 YouTube channels easily clear $10M from ad rev alone.

> Billions of people now have the expectation that content, utilities, and information can be made accessible to them, for free, by simply allowing ads in their feed.

They can still opt-in; not to mention this is about creepy ad targeting that exposes the user to lots of risk if the targeting data ever leaks (it's a time bomb); advertising per-se isn't banned, it just can't stalk the user.

However this will hopefully open the door for alternative monetization options, like you know, the old-school, boring paper bills that some people might have in their wallet and might be willing to hand over in exchange for a good app, service or product. ;)

Merchandising, both virtual and physical?

I firmly recognise that this would have a vastly different market structure, would cause tremendous pain to many in the transition, and really, that this is very likely nowhere near as remunerative, but it's not inconceivable that the game itself would be means to inject experience into people's sense of identity in order to sell them the clothing and accessories for signalling that identity to others.

I agree that it would probably make it impossible to financially justify investing in time-wasting games that would not be compelling enough for people to engage at that level.

As a disclaimer, I'm also not convinced that maximising the gross financial product of the app ecosystem is inherently the 'Right Thing' from a public policy perspective, either.

> it is not about being creepy, something simple as knowing if your marketing campaign is effective becomes very hard

But is is creepy, regardless of the reasons behind it, and some people might not be comfortable with that. Collecting that data also creates an ever-growing liability with the risk of the data eventually leaking and falling into malicious hands (including intelligence agencies) even if the original owner of the data wasn't misusing it.

> something simple as knowing if your marketing campaign is effective becomes very hard

I know I'm looking at this too simply but, fundamentally, is it not an increase in sales that defines the success of a marketing campaign? If the other methods of measurement are click-throughs, or verified views, or whatever else there may be, aren't these all essentially of meta-value only in comparison to actual sales?

That's the perspective of a company that actually sells "things" though, do you mean from the perspective of an advertising company?

There's a lot of meta going on. I guess that, from an advertising company perspective, they need stats to prove their campaigns are more effective then those of their competitors, which means they need to have more accurate or complete data on the various markets - and the more accurate and complete the data, the more invasive and present the tracking must be. What a race to the bottom.

> There is a whole industry that depends on tracking IDFA to function

Just because an industry exists, doesn't mean it's right. There's a whole industry that depends on the US voice carriers taking no action on spoofed number scam phone calls too.

Ad industry is sucks but we should take care about sustainability of free journalism, services and app ecosystem. Apple (one of richest group in society) was going to banning thing too quickly.

I would love to have been a fly on the wall in that meeting.

Having already pissed off the advertisers, Apple felt threatened enough to turn around and alienate its power users.

Couldn't have been an easy decision...

I suspect this news will get far less attention than the initial changes, so Apple still gets (almost) all of the good PR from the change without actually hurting the app developers.

They certainly still get to claim they are focused on privacy even if they decide to kick the can a few more times, since the notifications/controls will come “eventually”.

While the delay does disappoint me as a user, I can definitely understand the "give developers more time" angle. It seems doubtful to me that big ad tech hasn't already been working on ways to circumvent this policy and it feels like a few extra months won't exactly make a world of difference for them. I do hope this gives the "little guy" more time to rethink Ad strategy to not involve tracking.

They are giving the cockroaches time to find a new place to hide before they turn the lights on.

This is a change that will take an existing setting and make sure the user is aware of it.

If you want to flip the switch right now for all third party apps:

Go to Settings > Privacy > Advertising. Turn on Limit Ad Tracking.

A cynical take is that all these ad platforms drive a ton of app installs for Apple and create stickiness on iOS. Without all these targeted ads, it will decrease app downloads and with the App Store already under such scrutiny they decided to measure twice and cut once.

This is not that cynical! Apple pulled the plug on something they created on purpose (ID for Advertisers) without really understanding the impact of that decision on their own App Store bottom line. So many in app purchases are initiated by users acquired via ad campaigns. Remove the campaigns, remove the users, remove the revenue, maybe even more (i.e. Developer's interest for iOS)

But, I bet this is mostly antitrust related, the risk is too big on that front in the current context. Now, what I wonder is whether they'll adjust to play by the same rules as everyone else (and not using some extra features as detailed in the Forbes article mentioned in another comment [0]) or revert in some way.

[0] https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier/2020/08/07/apple-a...

That‘s really sad. I thought only a company like Apple has the financial power and the balls to push back the ads industry. Apparently not.

Bad Apple.

What was Facebook going to do? Pull out of iOS? They had all the power.

It’s worth noting that Apple and Facebook very recently sparred over the 30% App Store fee related to donations[0]. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Facebook offered to back down on that controversy if Apple agreed to this, but of course this is pure speculation.

0: https://www.macrumors.com/2020/08/28/apple-blocked-facebook-...

Good point, I'm sure there would have been some quid pro quo there.

What will really happen - apps won't work without accepting tracking. So technically users will be given a choice, and in practice there will be none. Just like now - "Oh, you don't want to give us your contacts, sms, location and all photos? Fine, here is an app with every function disabled. You want to actually use the app? Give us permissions."

Even so, it's still better at the end of the day if users are at least aware that they are paying for their services with their data.

GDPR has some protections against degrading functionality, assuming they ever start enforcing it.

Just as they put this ad online https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-l61NE0eqkw ... "Privacy. That’s iPhone. – Over Sharing"

"Comments are turned off."

I was about to grab some popcorn.

No! I was enjoying the idea of being able to deny every app that asks. Oh well.

You can go turn it off in settings phone-wide already today.

Shouldn't it be off by default?

No, app install ads were quite useful to me as a developer in the past. And judging by the retention rate on the people that installed via those ads, they derived value from them as well.

Apple has a massive user base now, I imagine they are preparing to make sure users stay in their ecosystem for everything. I won’t be surprised if they eventually use their own Siri search service instead of google as the default. Once they have all of the users locked in to their ecosystem I think apple’s own ad network will eventually be touted as “secure” and Apple will avoid antitrust scrutiny because everyone opts in to this ecosystem, voluntarily paying higher prices for access. It’s pretty genius really.

I cringe reading the deluded opinions from people in this thread that clearly do not understand the impact on the app ecosystem, let alone how ad tech works.

I'd liken it to reading a post on mumsnet.com with 100+ middle aged women arguing about 5g.

I don't think people in the thread don't understand as much as they don't care about ad tech and the ecosystem. As technologist we understand the invasive and creepy nature of ad tech and would like to see it gone, sure there'll be lots of second order effects but personally I am just tired of ads and ad tech.

The "Do No Track" header is the perfect example, largely abandonded because when ad companies realised how many people would set it they just ignored it altogether. Thankfully with Apple's changes they, as the gatekeeps of the walled garden, can ban apps that don't respect the user's "don't track me" signal.

The ad industry has had an abundance of chances to fix these issues, but haven't. As a user I welcome Apple forcing their hand even if the business models of many apps will be broken as a result.

It's a cleansing by fire if you will.

As far as I'm concerned adtech is a cancer on society that is wasting enormous amounts of people's time for dubious value (even if we assume that ads "generate" money to pay for services, how much of that money is wasted by the overheads of the advertising industry/business model itself?) and has corrupted many industries (before advertising and the idea of "engagement", who would intentionally build a world-scale cesspool that uses algorithms to intentionally encourage hatred and misinformation?).

If adtech collapses, a lot of scum will go out of business and will be replaced by something more lean that people would be happy to pay for (a social network can easily operate on $1/month/user). Nothing of value will be lost.

Would you care to describe the misunderstanding?

> people in this thread that clearly do not understand the impact on the app ecosystem

The entitlement of ad tech is unbelievable.

> I'd liken it to reading a post on mumsnet.com with 100+ middle aged women arguing

Yeah, women, amirite?

Any chance a cheque has been written behind closed doors here?

A cheque? Unlikely. Was this a part of a closed door negotiation? Likely.

A couple influencers these days couple make a viral video on how to go into settings and switch this off and then you've effectively got the update anyway.

Is anything changing except the timeline? Pushing things forward a quarter is not really a big deal if we're still getting the privacy improvements.

As a current Android user, this was one of the driving reasons I was considering coming back to Apple. Maybe I'll switch "early next year".

I think with the Epic battle and the rumors that Google is about to head to court is probably the reason that shook em to hold off on this.

This is unfortunate. Adtech is a cancer. We don't need to give it time to adapt, we need to shut it down.

Ads will definitely not disappear, only the tracking aspect. It will be more contextual ads probably, related to what page your are looking at, less related to you as an individual.

And that is both a user-respecting and effective way to advertise!

This would have been true for this change as well, clearly if Apple chose a different path means that it's not as clear cut as you imply here. And yeah contextual and stuff is nice but will simply not drive the same revenue for publishers.

This isn't true, targeted advertising only gets publishers about 4% more revenue, despite adtech's claims it's over 50%. And when adtech is banned, revenues will stabilize around remaining activity.

You deliberately choose to ignore all of the studies that disagree with you except the one that you agree with that has very obvious flaws. Here's a summary of the literature[1]. Personalized ads have become popular because they perform better for the buyer, and that makes buyers willing to pay more to show them to their customers. Buyer goals align with conversions. The history of advertising online started with contextual, there is zero evidence to support the claim that revenue will only drop 4% when any company submitting bids for contextual vs personalized ads can show you that the CPMs they are willing to pay can easily be 2-3x if not even higher for high worth users.

[1]: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1juu6UBguR7ru1Rhfyor9...

Ads have effectively disappeared for a number of years now for those who use a sensible approach to ad blocking (i.e. a combination of ingress blocking, DNS blacklists and browser-based blocking). This could change if content providers start using different approaches to ad insertion - e.g. video ads merged into the original content, ads as part of original page content - but even those avenues will be neutered within not too long. It probably makes sense for ad purveyors to not fret too much over ad blocking users since these users often react negatively to advertising and as such are better left alone.

In most cases I find direct ad insertion (as in ad sponsership of the creator) a lot less offensive than some algorythmetic insertion based on some unknown metric. At least then the creator has to decide if the ad they are running is acceptable in their product.

That isn't ad insertion but sponsorship. What I mean is for the server to present a single video stream which does not contain markers to identify advertising content, more or less the way many netcast ads are inserted into the audio stream.

> video ads merged into the original content

That is already a thing and there are already countermeasures: https://sponsor.ajay.app

> Ads will definitely not disappear, only the tracking aspect.

Ads without tracking are an even less effective business model. We don't have to make ads stop working entirely, we just have to make them sufficiently ineffective that they're not worth paying enough to make ad revenue worthwhile.

Not with that attitude they won't.

Do you realize the number of free services that one uses thanks to ads? Not everyone can afford to pay for these. I for one use gmail, google maps, google calendar, google docs, etc. Every day

Do you realize how much bullshit people buy that they do not need because of ads? People end up with much less money because of that. And the environment suffers too.

And no, without apps people would be able to discover new things. Current ads are not about facts but connecting feelings with products.

It's not exactly like people weren't buying things before the internet. Hell, there's advertising on the walls of Pompeii. If anything, better advertising gets us to buy stupid shit people are actually more interested in than before.

At least we're not buying pet rocks now.

Psychology and a normalization of false promises (thus far will make you a real man, this product will make you desired) only started around 1900.

The benign ads can still be seen in China when people write their service and a phone number on the wall, basically the only graffiti you will see there.

This has to be one of the most uninformed comments I have ever read on HN.

Are we seriously going to blame ads for people buying stuff they need? I mean come on, this seems like a South Park episode, the Ads are self-aware and made us do it.

Current ads are not about facts? Please do tell when was a time ads were not about trying to awake emotions inside prospective customers? Check out The 22 Irrefutable Laws of Marketing by Jack Trout and Al Ries, a book old almost 30 years yet still holds today. Marketing (offline or online ads, it's all the same basis) has and always will be part psychological.

I don't know for you, but I would rather appreciate an ad about something which I found useful (a sponsored job posting in my field of work on Instagram) than get a random ad like the early 2000s ("This russian young lady can't wait to meet you").

While we might not like or appreciate ads from a technical perspective, it is beneath a developer's pride we must come to terms that ads are what puts bread to our tables.

Innovation and progress, especially in the internet age has occured thanks to the business potential of marketing and ads.

If ads would not make people buy things there would not be so much money in that business.

Ads started using psychology and emotions around 1900.

I would prefer a world without those ads. Here in Germany I even still have to endure ads for tobacco.

Ads would be completely unnecessary where I work, we have solely customers that pay a recurring fee.

The only innovation in advertising is about lying better to people and spy more on them. Ads have wasted so much potential of talented developers and creative people.

> Do you realize how much bullshit people buy that they do not need because of ads? People end up with much less money because of that.

Other people's issues with financial self-control isn't a solid basis for being against something. By that logic, alcohol, clothing stores, videogames, literally anything that might influence people to buy things they don't really need is bad.

There's a line where what you call "people's issues with financial self-control" becomes a societal/systemic problem. Alcohol and gambling are the classic examples where extra taxation and regulation like age restrictions come into play. Where is that line for general advertising? I don't know. But it's out there.

P.S. Speaking of videogames, I'm of the opinion that many mobile "gatcha" games should be regulated like gambling products. Hoping legislation catches up in this regard.

Ads are manipulative. You do not choose ads but they are in your face. And since recently are completely violating our privacy.

Alcohol is rightfully regulated. Video games in their modern pay to win kind should be too.

What is life without feelings ?

There are plenty of free alternatives to Google that don’t rely on ads and respect your privacy.

What are some free products that don't rely on ads?

Gmail -> ProtonMail free tier Google Maps -> Open Street Maps (although I personally use Ordnance Survey Maps) Google Docs -> I use LibreOffice because I don’t need the cloud functionality Google Calendar -> I currently use a Synology NAS to host my own but I’m eagerly awaiting the release of Proton Calendar

As a disclaimer to this I actually pay for ProtonMail and OSMaps because they’re products I use daily and feel that they deserve the money, however they do have free tiers and there are free alternatives to most Google software. I’d strongly suggest looking into de-Googling, there’s an entire subreddit dedicated to it.

Literally every service the previous poster mentioned has an ad free/ tracking free alternative which ships with the iPhone. Aside from that, there are too many "free products" without advertising to list them so you'd need to be more specific.

They are not free, if you need to buy a phone to use them.

> They are not free, if you need to buy a phone to use them.

If you don't have an iPhone/ iPad/ Mac, how else would Apple's privacy/ tracking policies apply to you?

We're talking about advertising and apps on iOS, those apps are absolutely free (and ad free) on any devices under discussion here. Otherwise, please feel free to ask about any other specific app on any other platform, because in almost all cases there is a free solution without advertising.

The idea that the world needs to run on advertising is nonsense. Likewise that developers/ end users somehow "need" advertising.

Most OSS I suppose.

like what?

Do you realize that you can have ads subsidizing free services without any tracking or using any third-party services?

Obviously, companies generally make more money with tracking, otherwise they wouldn't do it, and that means more investment in free services.

Those types of ads definitely exist, but make a lot less revenue, which in the end impacts free services.

Sure, those people can “opt in” if they choose. The point is that it should default to not track unless the user knowingly and willingly chooses to be tracked (in exchange for services if you like).

This is just letting people know that the apps which use the advertising are tracking them. If people don't mind getting tracked to fund their apps, they can opt in.

I don't have any trouble with advertising and tracking... so long as it's clear and obvious that it's happening and you have an easy way to opt out. This should make both sides happy.

The world would be arguably a better place if all of those services went dark tomorrow. Everything offered there can be done elsewhere by better products with less user harm, for free, today.

Meaningless drivel. Billions of people rely on these free service, but in some unspecified place they could be done better, without some unspecified harm. OK.

Services should not be able to stalk my online activity indiscriminately without my knowledge and consent.

It pays for the modern web. It is probably in need of more transparency and clear user defined controls but hardly a cancer.

And what have we gained from it? Toxic unconstrained social networks, more methods to make everyone feel uglier and worthless, endlessly consume random crap without producing anything of value, and robotic hamburger making shops that no one asked for and are somehow IT related?

This site, for one, is funded by job ads. No one forces you to use it, or any other "toxic" site that makes you feel "ugly and worthless". If you think the entire web (or the entire ad funded web) is toxic and makes you feel "ugly and worthless" what are you doing here?

I don't think anyone would have a problem with advertising if all advertising was as respectful and unobtrusive as HN's job ads.

Do you think Apple's changes will affect HN's ad business?

No. The discussion is about ads in general.

Vacation homes in Lake Tahoe, the most important thing in life.

By your logic the conclusion is that the modern web is heavily cancerous, which arguably it is. There are other ways to pay for innovation and tools, to be preventative-proactive so cancer can't exist or at least not thrive.

Clearly those unspecified other ways aren't working well enough, or ads wouldn't be so dominant.

The problem is that the advertising way is "cheating" in the sense that its victims are not aware they're being exploited; otherwise this article wouldn't have been written and the proposed UI change (which aims to shine light on what the advertising industry is doing with your personal data) wouldn't cause such an uproar.

There are areas where a totally "free market" doesn't work in the long-term benefit of society and regulation typically steps in. This is why for example health and safety is a thing (even though not caring about that would make businesses more profitable) or that in most civilized countries you are not allowed to dump toxic waste in the river even though it's cheaper than paying to have it recycled.

economic engine !== automatically good. The Triangle Trade was an economic engine, too.

Given the number of newspapers and blogs closing every year, it doesn't actually seem to be the case that adtech successfully pays for the "modern Web".

Lots of businesses go broke, that doesn't mean we should dismiss the idea of paying for things as "cancer", similarly the fact that some websites go broke doesn't mean we should dismiss ads as "cancer".

I was replying to someone who asserted that adtech pays for "the modern web". I dispute that statement. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and nobody has ever provided evidence that adtech actually pays for what we know as the Web today. We get lots of assertions as to such, but never proof.


If you just flat out ban shit without nuanced understanding

I’m sure you appreciate the irony of this given your “banning invasive tracking will be the end of civilisation” shtick.

Let’s compromise and permit advertising generally, while absolutely working as hard as possible to crush creepy and abusive practices, like secretly tracking individuals without their permission. Seems like everybody could reasonably sign up to that.

Showing some ads is one thing. Tracking every aspect of people's lives is another entirely. And that's what adtech has only become since the internet enabled it to do so.

You're equating ad-tech with advertising. They aren't the same thing.

> If you just flat out ban shit without nuanced understanding, you hurt people more than help.

Absolutely. We should have understanding and we ban shit that is harmful.

Most of humanity's ills have been around for a long time.

OH no, I'm so sorry for ads now. Poor, poor ads, let's make it easy for them to be more annoying and less regulated for once after years of being intrusive, bringing malware, tracking people across portals and devices, and still being flipping unreliable.

Good riddance to that, I say. Ad tech is bad user experience, period. We don’t need it. Don’t try to belittle someone for their opinion. Ass.

It's a large reason why software engineers are making a lot of money.

Money made by taking advantage of others is unethical money. If your salary is propped up by adtech, you shouldn't be making that money.

So did Apple just bully Facebook into those additional election season changes?

Zuck probably begged Tim

Zuck needs this least of all - people post their lives to FB via Instagram, all you need is a high quality, high cardinality object detector, and some NLP. For ads shown on e.g. Instagram or FB, there should be no impact at all.

Google could mine Photos I suppose, but there's no user graph there, and no text blurb, and no "likes", so it's less valuable. Google is also more reliant on tracking due to DoubleClick and ad exchanges. Be that as it may, Google search ads should also be unaffected.

Where this really hurts are ads shown in apps which are not controlled by Google/FB. Those would need an ID to know who you are in order to boost relevance. And that's being withdrawn. I'm not sure how much exposure FB has to that, though. I know Google is heavily exposed.

Well Facebook was the biggest name complaining in the media that this would seriously hurt their ad revenue.

I also wonder why, because their apps already require a user to sign in. It must reference to cross-app tracking, I'm also surprised they were so dependent on that.

Facebook didn’t complain... they said they would shut off FAN which generated a whole of $2B in revenue for them in 2018 when they make $80B this year.

They were telling their customers to find an alternative monetization strategy since this wasn’t going to be worth it for them.

I'm not the only one viewing that as a complaint:


I'm really not sure that makes you right. It's a fact that FAN is 2% or so of revenue for FB. And it's also a fact that FB, with their analytics/ads SDK and all the data they ingest from their own applications, already owns a very important data source for their targeted ads. These are plain as day facts. If you ever bought ads, you'd know that FAN, for the typical buyers, represents a tiny fraction of spend on FB (less than 5% typically). Then journalists can write what they want, as much as I like Arstechnica and pay for it, that's just plain wrong and countered by facts. It's also frankly funny how little journalists know about ads when in most cases it's the source of their income.

Furthermore, it's absolutely hilarious to think that the most valuable company in the world, with enough cash reserves to be able to almost buy FB outright, would somehow be willing to walk back their core value message because their, allegedly, value adversary asks. Apple made the change because they would have cratered their app economy and they themselves weren't going to play by their own rules, FB maybe played a role because $2B are a lot of money for the free apps, but they aren't a lot of money for FB. It's really hilarious to think that Apple gives a crap about what FB writes on their site, specifically when it's about privacy. Apples cares about its ecosystem, not about what FB says. Totally hilarious.

You couldn't be further from the truth. App developers told Apple they are going to decimate their income and ability to survive.

One, if not the main, feature to upgrade to iOS 14 is now delayed to any of the 365 days of 2021. Clear message: "Save adtech and continue to screw your customers". Bravo Apple, Bravo!!

Less than 90 days ago this proposed feature hadn't been announced and now you are vilifying them for delaying it a few months?

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