Last year, after the smartphone maker announced the new iOS 14 policy, the social media platform called them out, saying the decision would halve its earning and jeopardize publishers and developers ability to earn from ads.
The faceoff it generated between the two giants has aggravated their already soured relationship. Apple has maintained that its policy is in line with the recent clamor by both consumers and antitrust watchdogs to protect users’ privacy, while Facebook said the new policy is anticompetitive.
The social media platform has been building an antitrust lawsuit that accuses Apple of using its App Store to disadvantage competitors. Earlier reports by The Information said Facebook is close to filing a lawsuit against Apple for its actions that the former deemed anticompetitive.
“As we have said repeatedly, we believe Apple is behaving anti-competitively by using their control of the App Store to benefit their bottom line at the expense of app developers and small businesses,” Facebook spokesperson Ashley Zandy said when asked to comment on the lawsuit.
Apple and Facebook are not considered competitors, given that the former generates revenue through sales of devices while the latter makes money from selling ads. However, many Facebook users use iPhones, where the Apple Store which houses thousands of apps live.
“We expect these changes will disproportionately affect Audience Network given its heavy dependence on app advertising. Like all ad network on iOS 14, advertiser ability to accurately target and measure their campaigns on Audience Network will be impacted, and as a result publishers should expect their ability to effectively monetize on Audience Network to decrease,” Facebook said after Apple announced the new policy.
Efforts by the social media’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, to get Apple to bend the rules proved futile.
In December, Apple’s senior VP of software Craig Federighi said during the European Data Protection and Privacy Conference, that Google and Facebook risk being removed from the iOS store if they don’t comply with the new Cupertino’s privacy rules.
The iOS 14 means that companies no longer have the freedom to track people’s movement online, and it was implemented by Apple through the introduction of the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature.
Apple has under its control, a staggering number of internet users that will impact the revenue of the advertising industry. It has expected a fight-back from the advertisers and is standing its ground on the ATT.
Data privacy was the core legacy of Apple’s founder Steve Jobs, who believed consumers’ permission is needed whenever their personal information is to be used.
“I believe people are smart, and some people want to share more data than other people do. Ask them. Ask them every time. Make them tell you to stop asking them. Let them know precisely what you’re going to do with their data,” Jobs said before his death.
Apple, which has more than $2 trillion in value, has stood on this message to push its data privacy policies. Federighi said in December that the tech company seems to be carrying the moral burden of respecting and protecting private information alone while other tech companies prey on it, pointing finger at Google and Facebook.
Although the tension between Apple and Facebook dated back to 2010, when Jobs shared a conference stage with Zuckerberg and publicly drew a sharp contrast on how their companies handle private data, it has recently escalated.
Last August, Facebook supported Epic Games’ lawsuit against Apple following the controversy of the 30% in-app commission fee that Apple charges app owners in its store.
Apple has remained adamant as Facebook rallied for support against the iOS 14 policy.
With obvious slim chance against the Cupertino-based tech giant, Facebook’s recent attempt to cull data from WhatsApp users is believed to be a ploy to fill the gap from Apple’s iOS 14 policy. As the attempt hits a wall of resistance following the mass exodus of WhatsApp users, the social media company appears to be counting on a lawsuit to regain access to iPhone users’ data.
Facebook has become notorious in private data and anti-competition controversies. The irony this time is that it is coming when both Facebook and Apple are facing antitrust probes in Washington from the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission.
It is not clear if Facebook will proceed with the lawsuit, what is clear is that the two giants are no longer hiding their contempt for each other.