EFF sides with Apple, Facebook criticizes iOS 14 privacy features ‘laughter’

Facebook spent the last week in 2021 publicly criticizing Apple’s plans to add new privacy features to iOS 14. Facebook has rejected Apple’s planned changes, now the Electronic Frontier Foundation has said on behalf of Apple that the criticism of Facebook is “laudable”.

In 2021, Apple will introduce a new App Tracking Transparency feature, which requires companies to seek permission from users before tracking users on other apps and websites. The feature was initially planned to drop iOS 14 this fall, but Apple delayed the rollout until early 2021 to give developers more time to plan.

With the App Tracking Transparency feature approaching, Facebook has started a public PR battle against Apple. Facebook says the new changes will hurt small businesses and affect businesses’ ability to reach new customers. On the other hand, Apple states that for this feature, users would not need to change their approach to tracking users, instead of just taking permission.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, or EFF, maintains that Facebook’s argument largely excludes:

Facebook has recently launched a campaign to protect itself as a protector of small businesses. This is Facebook’s laughable attempt to distract you from its poor track record of anticompetitive behavior and privacy issues as it tries to derail a pro-privacy change from Apple that is bad for Facebook’s business Huh.

Trackers should have a clear foundation for requesting their consent before staring at you on the Internet, and we applaud Apple for this change. But Facebook is building a huge empire by tracking applications and everything you do, allowing users and policy makers to sell applications and share their data to a shady set of third-party companies. Would love to believe otherwise.

On Facebook’s argument that small businesses will be affected, the EFF says such claims “cannot progress beyond the truth.”

Facebook describes itself as protecting small businesses in this matter, and it cannot move beyond the truth. Facebook has locked them in a situation in which they are forced to be timid and hostile to their own customers. The answer cannot be defending that broken system at the expense of the privacy and control of its own users.

Eventually, the EFF called on Google to follow in Apple’s footsteps:

Overall, AppTrackingTransparency is a great step forward for Apple. When a company does the right thing for its users, the EFF will stand by it, just as we will fall short on companies that do the wrong thing. Here, Apple is right and Facebook is wrong. Next step: Android should follow with equal protection. Your move, Google

You can read the full blog post of EFF here.

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