There is a lot in the news today about Facebook and data privacy violation, internet data privacy violation seems to be the way tech companies nowadays make their money.
As You may know, in simple terms, internet privacy is your personal opinion or decision or mandate on how your information is stored, displayed online, and how third parties access this information.
Many people are comfortable with their data on Facebook but recent happenings like the “Cambridge Analytica data scandal”, revealed how Facebook obtained data from millions of Facebook users without their approval, this data was intern used to target these users for political advertisements, this and other privacy violations have raised an alarm and fear amongst Facebook users. Come to think of it, privacy is a very important aspect of humanity, for example; I don’t want anybody watching me when am bathing, I don’t know about you.
Though Facebook claims they use user’s data to better serve them adverts or to do target advertisement, this data is instead used to track users in and out of Facebook, meaning you don’t have to be on Facebook before They can track you.
Facebook online Tracking
Online tracking or web tracking is when a website can collect, store and share information about visitors on the World Wide Web.
In 2012 the idea of IDFA was introduced, which stands for Identifier for Advertisers, this IDFA number can be used to track users and the products they purchase online. The IDFA and equivalent technologies like cookies have enabled apps to make huge sums of money from user’s data. Think of it like you bought a few things from a random number of shops while leaving your information in each of them if someone visits these shops he can figure out not only what you bought but equally what you want to do.
Facebook today cannot only track users when they are on Facebook but equally when they are off Facebook, this is some sort of spying, many are not aware because of ignorance. I mean back in the days spies would have to climb treetops or user telescopes and other tools to do their job but today with the advancement of technological innovations the concept of privacy has changed entirely. I asked a colleague at work “are you aware Facebook is tracking you” and he immediately responded “how does that concern me, am not a trait to them”, many believe that online platform will only track you if you are doing some illegal stuff, but that is quite the opposite. I think people should be aware of how websites interact with their data and the necessary measures to ensure safety.
Apples Release of Ios14
Amongst the features offered by Ios14, is the option to opt out of Facebook tracking, I called this the magic button, thanks to apple mobile phone users can block Facebook from tracking them, this has been facebook’s worst nightmare.
According to a statement released by apple they said:
“We believe that this is a simple matter of standing up for our users. Users should know when their data is being collected and shared across other apps and websites — and they should have the choice to allow that or not. App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14 does not require Facebook to change its approach to tracking users and creating targeted advertising, it simply requires they give users a choice.”
Too many iPhone users, this is one of the best decisions Apple CEO Tim Cook and the team have taken, it should be the decision of users to permit the app to track them.
Facebook criticized this decision by apple, stating that it is based on profit and not entirely on privacy,
In response to the decision taken by apple facebook released this statement:
- They’re creating a policy — enforced via iOS 14’s AppTracking Transparency — that’s about profit, not privacy. It will force businesses to turn to subscriptions and other in-app payments for revenue, meaning Apple will profit and many free services will have to start charging or exit the market.
- They’re hurting small businesses and publishers who are already struggling in a pandemic. These changes will directly affect their ability to use their advertising budgets efficiently and effectively. Our studies show, without personalized ads powered by their own data, small businesses could see a cut of over 60% of website sales from ads. We don’t anticipate the proposed iOS 14 changes to cause a full loss of personalization but rather a move in that direction over the longer term.
- They’re not playing by their own rules. Apple’s own personalized ad platform isn’t subject to the new iOS 14 policy.
- We disagree with Apple’s approach, yet we have no choice but to issue their prompt. If we don’t, we’ll face retaliation from Apple, which could only further harm the businesses we want to support. We can’t take that risk.”
In response to this claim Apple created a popup feature that will enable facebook to tell users why they should allow tracking
This kind of response was expected from Facebook because Facebook makes money from users data, which enables them to show relevant adverts to users, this is basically Facebook’s business model.
Why is apple doing this?
The possible reason could come from their business model, Apple makes money from sales of devices and in-app purchases and not from any form of advertisement, one of the selling points of Apple is the fact that they always claim to ensure privacy.
There are measures people can take to stay safe online but not everyone is knowledgeable enough to apply these measures, this makes companies like Facebook prey on its users and their data.
Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs back in 2010 said that some people didn’t care about how much of their data they shared, and again he said people should always be informed about how their data is being used.
Facebook has made the headline of the newspaper today, because of how the mismanaged and profited illegally from user’s data, you can’t argue that Facebook is making billions from users data, but this contradicts what Apple stands for, this means, either apple allows Facebook to track users and at the end of the day put Apple out of business or Apple provide privacy thereby harming facebook.
I think people should not only be aware of who has their data but equally have a say on who should be allowed to access their data, this is the reason why some upcoming platforms like ConnectYu and others are providing different alternatives for Advertisement that will not require them to track users across different apps.
To conclude I will say that if your online privacy depends on you buying the latest iPhone, then I think it’s worth affording one or doing an upgrade if you value your privacy.