Facebook staff sides with Apple in privacy debate

Facebook vs Apple: Zuckerberg’s staff sides with Tim Cook in privacy debate

Facebook has publicly criticised Apple's new update which bars apps from tracking user data without explicit permission

Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg. Credit: AP Photo

In Mark Zuckerberg’s privacy feud with Apple, reports suggest that Facebook employees are siding with the iPhone maker, saying that Facebook uses small businesses on its platform to hide its bad privacy practices.

Within its latest software update iOS 14, the Cupertino-based company released a feature that bars all apps, including Facebook, from tracking user data without their permission, something that drew sharp public criticism from the social networking giant.

The Financial Express cited reports quoting a Facebook employee as saying that the staff was unhappy with the company's move to criticise Apple’s new update publicly. The staff also reportedly said that Facebook was trying to justify its questionable practices by exploiting people.

The updated iOS feature, along with the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) which Apple aims to roll out by early 2021, will hurt Facebook’s data collection methods and its targeted ads, one of its chief revenue channels.

But in a full-page ad published in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times and a blog post, Facebook found faults in the new update on the basis of harm it would cause to small businesses on its platform that rely on targeted ads for visibility and sales. The Facebook staff has also reportedly condemned this as the company’s attempts to gain sympathy.

Apple’s latest software update, the iOS 14, came with a significant emphasis on the privacy of its customers, geared towards addressing the raging global debate about consumer data access to big technology companies.  

Apple has been vocal about its problems with Facebook’s data collection methods. As a response to Facebook’s criticism, Tim Cook tweeted that it was in the interest of Apple’s users that the company had taken this decision. He went on to explain that Facebook can still track the data of users if it wishes, it just needs to take their permission first.