Facebook’s Apple App Store Privacy Screen: Comprehensive, Dangerous – tech2.org

Facebook’s Apple App Store Privacy Screen: Comprehensive, Dangerous


Apple CEO Tim Cook (l) and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook.

Getty Images (L) | Reuters (R)

Earlier this week, Apple updated its App Store for information about the kind of user data that various apps collect.

The privacy label of an app is getting a lot of attention: Facebook. On Apple’s App Store, the Facebook app listing now includes several pages detailing which users’ data the app collects and uses it for.

Facebook’s lengthy label, which can rethink privacy-sensitive users using the app, is an example of why two Silicon Valley veterans have engaged in a war of words over the past two years: Facebook and Apple Has two different business models, and they are rapidly coming into conflict.

Apple is a consumer hardware company that makes money by selling phones, computers, and accessories for premium prices. In recent years, it has been adding privacy features to make it harder for other companies to collect data from users in the market as the primary reason for taking Apple products from competitors.

Facebook is an advertising company that harvests detailed information about users who are likely to respond, to help target advertisers and record their messages to audiences.

Some of Facebook’s complaints with Apple are unrelated to these privacy labels – they’re over other conflicts between the two companies, such as Apple’s 30% in-app purchase cuts, and upcoming changes to how device IDs for apps target Can reach. advertisement.

But the conflict between the two companies is ultimately about user targeting, as shown by this exchange since November:

“Facebook executives have clarified that their intention is to collect as much data as possible in both first- and third-party products to develop and monetize detailed profiles of their users, and this disregard for user privacy in their products Continues to include more. ” Apple’s global head Jane Horvath said in a letter to human rights groups.

Facebook said in a statement later that day that Apple was using its power to harm its rivals. “They claim that it is about privacy, but it is about benefits.”

Facebook has controls on apps and websites that help users set their privacy settings, Facebook said, and Apple’s labels ignore important references to how it uses data to run its services.

Facebook’s subsidiary WhatsApp told Axios last week that Apple’s labels are anti-competitive because some of Apple’s apps, such as Messages, are pre-installed on iPhones, and do not have store listings or similar labels. (Apple publishes how its preinstalled apps use user data on a support page on its website.)

Facebook label

A quick glance at the privacy label explains why privacy-conscious users may hesitate to download the app.

The two sets of large icons on the download page provide an overview of the data collected by the app, including “data used to track you,” and “data linked to you” – two alarming-sounding, if Details are not very accurate:

Icons on the Facebook app listing show that the app uses contact info, identifiers and other data to “track you”, or to help target ads on other apps and websites that Facebook does not have.

Facebook collects various data related to your identity, according to its privacy label, including health and fitness data, purchases, locations and contacts.

If users tap “View Details”, they will get a creepy-looking accounting, which collects the exact user data Facebook has, and uses it for. That page states that Facebook uses “other financial information” and user content to target ads and collects “sensitive information” for its own analytics.

But perhaps the most memorable part of Facebook’s privacy label detail page is how tall it is on the phone – it takes many screens. This leaves a very strong belief that Facebook is collecting a large hoard of data about its billions of users.

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