The new iOS 14.5 update includes an “App Tracking Transparency” feature, which lets iPhone users ask apps not to track their activity across the web. But a new popup in the Instagram and Facebook apps suggests that Facebook services will not be free unless users allow the company to track their activity, a dramatic change from Facebook’s “free and always will be” mantra.
Forcing people to pay for its services goes against Facebook’s business model, and would anger its users and investors. The company is unlikely to make such a move. This popup is an attempt to scare or guilt users into enabling tracking, which could reduce the financial impact of App Tracking Transparency on Facebook’s ads business.
Yes, internal Facebook memos leaked last week state that advertisers should expect a decreased ads audience due to the iPhone’s new App Tracking Transparency feature. Certain types of ads, such as Mobile App Installs, will be useless if iPhone users opt-out of Facebook and Instagram tracking. Reduced ad activity could lead to reduced profit for Facebook, but according to The Zuck, his business will be fine.
In a recent Clubhouse interview, Mark Zuckerberg stated that Facebook won’t have any trouble navigating Apple’s new privacy controls. In fact, he states that the anti-tracking tools could force businesses to sell their goods directly through Facebook and Instagram due to the reduced effectiveness of ads.
So not only is Facebook’s new iOS 14.5 popup a thinly-veiled scare tactic, it’s also misleading. Facebook could profit off the new App Tracking Transparency feature, and if that doesn’t work out, the company still won’t charge users for its services. If you’re using an iPhone with iOS 14.5, it’s up to you to decide how you’ll use this information.