Former employees explain why Facebook is afraid of Apple's anti-tracking feature

In a press interview with a group of former Facebook employees who worked on the company's advertising products and businesses, CNBC reveals the real reason for Facebook's extreme fear of Apple's new App Tracking Transparency feature, which the company will include in the iOS 14.5 update that will be released in the coming weeks.

Apple's App Tracking Transparency is a new privacy feature that provides users with more control over how ad companies track them across apps and services and requires developers to obtain permission before tracking a user's device advertising identifier or the so-called Identifier for Advertiser (IDFA) tag to do so.

When a user opens an application for the first time on iOS 14.5 or later, a new pop-up window will appear that allows him to accept or refuse to have the application track his IDFA, or, in other words, his activities outside this application. This identifier is later used by advertising companies to target users with ads.

When users are given the option to allow or block apps from tracking them so that they can display ads based on their activities on their device, most of them are more likely to choose to block them, and this means that the ads they will see will be less relevant to their interests, making them less effective.

If users turn off IDFA tracking, it will prevent Facebook from seeing a key metric called view-through conversions Metrics, a technology that Facebook uses to see how many users saw an ad for a product and didn't click on it, but who later purchased that product based on that ad. For example, suppose you saw an ad for jeans in your Facebook newsfeed or Instagram stories, but you didn't click on it because you were busy, but later searched Google for the same jeans that you saw in the ad and bought them.

After the purchase is made, the seller will register your IDFA and share it with Facebook so that the latter can determine if that IDFA matches a user who has viewed an ad to purchase these jeans, giving the seller an idea of whether his ad is working or not.

And if advertisers feel that their ads are not achieving the desired results, they will not buy more ads from Facebook and will likely turn to competing advertising platforms such as Google, which will greatly harm Facebook, as ads are almost the only source of its revenue, and this is what Facebook is very afraid of, according to these employees.

Facebook had published full-page ads in several newspapers late last year calling for the rescue of small businesses that depend entirely on ads, and that would suffer because of the new Apple's app-tracking transparency, as Facebook claims. But former Facebook employee Henry Love confirmed that these allegations are not almost completely unfounded, as small businesses may not even know what IDFA is, and all that they often need in their advertising campaigns is information about the approximate location, age group, and gender of users, and this information Facebook can extract from its applications without tracking anyone online.

But it seems that no one cares about Facebook, as the company is haunted by privacy-related scandals everywhere, and the day after day users are convinced that Facebook treats them only as a commodity, as it spies on them and then sells their information to advertisers for money, then comes to tell them in the end that it respects their privacy. On the other side, Apple does not care much about what Facebook says, as privacy is a key component of its success recipe, and many of the people who move to Apple products move only because it respects their privacy.

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