Facebook employees say Apple’s fight is “self-service”


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Facebook ran a series of full-page advertisements in major newspapers as part of a “Speak Up for Small Business” campaign against Apple.

Last Tuesday, Facebook featured a full-blown defense of small businesses. In order to encourage people to “speak for small businesses” by taking out full-page ads in major newspapers and creating webpages, the social networking giant argued that by preventing people from targeting people with changes to Apple’s mobile operating system Family run enterprises will be destroyed. With online advertisements.

But while the company’s $ 750 billion public relations effort has presented a united front with small businesses, some Facebook employees complained about what they called a self-serving campaign based on the hypocrisy that workers gained Was according to internal observations and audio. By Buzzfeed News. A change in Apple’s iOS 14 mobile operating system – which requires iPhone owners to choose to allow companies to track them on other apps and websites – harms Facebook, with some employees on the company’s personal message boards Argued, and their employers were just using small businesses as a shield.

An engineer wrote to Dan Levy, Facebook’s vice president for ads, in response to an internal post about the campaign, “It feels like we are trying to do a bad thing by hiding behind people with a gentle message . “

“It seems that we are trying to justify doing an evil thing by hiding behind people with a sympathetic message.”

This is not the first time the two companies have done complex work. In 2018, Apple CEO Tim Cook criticized Facebook for tracking people across the web to gather data for targeted advertisements, after which Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pushed back. But the campaign represents a full-blown attack as Facebook attempts to pit small businesses against the 2.2 trillion iPhone manufacturer.

The stakes are high for Facebook. Analysts say the company will invest a record $ 80 billion in advertising sales this year, while internal data shared with employees earlier this month shows the social network never had more advertisers. In the final six months of 2020, the company had more than 12.6 million monthly active-paying advertisers, up from 11.9 million in the first half of this year, while the weekly value of its ads increased 26% to $ 2.3 billion.

Apple plans that iPhone owners can have the option of tracking apps and the web will reduce the amount of data Facebook collects, resulting in less effective advertising and lower revenue. The change comes at a time when the social networking giant is facing an unprecedented threat to its business as state and federal regulators have threatened to sabotage the company with a series of antitrust lawsuits.

Facebook is also dealing with public complaints of small business advertisers frustrated with the failure to provide adequate customer support and stop scam advertisements selling fake versions of their products.

Facebook spokeswoman Ashley Zandy told Buzzfeed News, “Since starting this effort we have heard from small businesses around the world who are concerned about how these changes could hurt their businesses.” “Because this is such an important time [small- and medium-sized businesses], We will continue to share those stories with the public and our employees. “

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Following Thursday’s internal talks to explain the anti-Apple campaign, Facebook employees asked or voted on a number of questions focusing on the results of efforts made on the already entrenched image of the social network. The most popular questions expressed doubt or concern.

“We are not worried about protecting our stand [small- and medium-sized businesses] What would people see as ‘FB instead of protecting their own business’? Read a top voting question.

“People want ‘privacy,” read another. “Objection to FB will be viewed with cynicism. Do we know that it will be bad PR, and the decision to publish anyway? “

“How do we take a message that looks least served?” An employee asked.

In his responses, Facebook Vice President of Product Marketing Graham Mudd said the company had been “clearly articulated” with marketing materials and analysts and calls that Apple’s iOS change “has a financial impact on us.” (Facebook’s “Speak for Small Businesses” webpage does not mention how the tracking change will affect social networks.)

“We’re not trying to sweep it under the carpet,” Mud said. “We are, you know, a profitable, big company and we’re going to get through this and optimize our products and beyond. But the real people who are going to get hit by it are small businesses, And that’s why we have made them the center of the message. “

On the live chat, several Facebook activists agreed to show their support for small business entrepreneurs, who were part of the presentation. Zandy said that the business owners who spoke at the event were not compensated for their time.

Many employees seemed unaffiliated with the presentation. Some did not understand how Apple’s changes would affect small businesses, while one said that Facebook’s attempt to undermine Apple’s privacy policy made it “a traditional Trojan virus”.

“We’re not going to … be the only ones who should be allowed to track people without their consent – any company can do that, even small startups and malicious actors,” The employee wrote.

The same person criticized Levi’s post on the company’s internal message board, Workplace.

“The only thing I’m hearing over and over again is ‘it’s bad for businesses,’ and I’d really like to say clearly to someone at the top,” People are better off if they don’t know what we Are if we do not have to explain ourselves to them, if they do not get the option of choosing or exiting their practices, if we get it behind the interesting features as much as possible, and then get them. We accept keeping an eye on the back until we finish it, “he wrote, before sharing a meme of a British comedy show in which a Nazi officer asks,” Are we villains ? “

Levy’s post attracted other internal critics. Apple was not stopping tracking, simply asking users to choose to track consciously, an employee wrote.

One activist said, “Why can’t we make the opt-in so compelling that people agree to do it.” “I can think of a dozen ideas that can connect people. Why couldn’t FB for example create its own version, which gives you a discount on purchases? “

In response to a discussion on his post, Levy said that the campaign is “not about our business model.”

“It’s Apple’s marketing working and convincing us to explain to you so that they can decide how the Internet should work – even beyond their devices.”

“It’s Apple’s marketing working and refusing you to reassure them so they can decide how the Internet should work – even beyond their devices,” he wrote. “I am an optimistic person who works in technology because I think technology can be a lever to use democracy and give opportunity. Also included for businesses. And if you think it is going to close with personalized ads. . . Then I disagree.

Facebook has also eliminated criticism from small businesses that say the company’s lack of customer service and over-automation is hurting them. In October, amid the year’s biggest quarter for e-commerce sales, small business advertisers and agencies accidentally disabled their Facebook advertising accounts, which the company said took days or weeks to resolve automation errors went. According to Bloomberg News, the issue again occurred this month.

Facebook’s internal advertising team’s report, obtained by Buzzfeed News, was observed to save money on customer service through automation. The report said that the support price for Facebook has decreased by more than 30% compared to the last six months.

Andrew Foxwell, a marketer who runs Foxwell Digital and helps manage a Facebook group dedicated to social media advertising, told Buzzfeed News that he talked to 50 people who were wrongly affected by an account ban this quarter . “The thing that is important to underscore is these small businesses and the jobs of people who rely on this platform to work,” he said.

At the workplace, a Facebook employee said inaccurate advertising account restrictions and weak customer support suggest the company failed to live up to the campaign’s message. “[They] Highlight that we’re probably not doing everything we can do for a small [businesses]’When we don’t provide human customer service support to small advertisers, “he wrote.

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