As Apple has rolled out App Tracking Transparency features on iOS allowing users to block apps from data collection, Facebook has been one of the most vocal forces in opposition to the privacy measure. Facebook’s user data collection has long been the core of its targeted advertising measures and a feature like App Tracking Transparency represents a very real threat to its otherwise unchecked operation. With that, it should come as no surprise that as App Tracking Transparency has arrived in iOS 14.5, Facebook’s has put out messaging across its core app and Instagram claiming that the new feature threatens free use of apps.
Users of Facebook and Instagram began to notice the messaging as of the rollout of iOS’s latest update on April 26, 2021. Facebook dropped its own iOS update a handful of days later, and while it simply claims to “fix some crashes and make features load faster,” it wasn’t long before users of iOS’s new privacy settings got in-app messages asking users to allow Facebook to continue to track user data and “help keep Facebook free of charge.” The Instagram app on iOS was updated on May 2 and features similar messaging.
Facebook has not been shy about its criticisms and concerns over iOS 14.5 and App Tracking Transparency. It has pushed campaigns and published articles arguing vehemently against the feature. It has implored users to take actions to allow data tracking in spite of the feature. Facebook even made a point to forecast the damage iOS 14.5’s App Tracking Transparency could do to company revenue as early as Q2 2021. Now, with company’s latest action and messaging, it seems to be implying that it may be forced to stop offering Facebook and Instagram services for free if app tracking isn’t allowed.
Facebook has continued to experience user growth on monthly and daily metrics as of its recent quarterly reports, but it would seem the company finds itself on the ropes as of this latest change. Such as the case, it will be interesting to see if Facebook actually does follow through on a seeming threat to make its main apps paid experiences on iOS due to App Tracking Transparency. Stay tuned as we continue to follow this story for further updates and information.