Apple’s Privacy Rules to Blame for Facebook’s Lower Than Expected Quarterly Growth, Says Zuckerberg


Apple’s privacy rules are “negatively affecting” Facebook, and its business, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed during its most recent earnings call.

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As a quick refresher, starting with iOS 14.5 and all newer versions of iOS and iPadOS, Apple requires that apps ask for users’ permission to track them across other apps and websites. Under the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework, the latest change gives users a choice on whether they wish to be tracked for ads or other purposes.

In the weeks leading up to ATT’s launch, Facebook was vocal about its displeasure with the change, explicitly framing it as unfavorable for small businesses who use its platform to target customers. When users opt-out of tracking, Facebook and other ad providers have less data for targeted advertisement, possibly, in one example provided by Facebook, making it harder for local businesses to target ads to potential customers nearby.

Continuing on its anti-Apple’s privacy rules campaign, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was quick to blame Apple for his company’s lower than expected growth in the third quarter of the year. Kicking off the earnings call, Zuckerberg said Apple is “negatively affecting” Facebook but that he believes the company will be able to “navigate” the challenges Apple is presenting thanks to its long-term investments.

As expected, we did experience revenue headwinds this quarter, including from Apple’s changes that are not only negatively affecting our business, but millions of small businesses in what is already a difficult time for them in the economy. Sheryl and Dave will talk about this more later, but the bottom line is we expect we’ll be able to navigate these headwinds over time with investments that we’re already making today.

While Zuckerberg and the Facebook executive team hold Apple’s changes accountable for this quarter’s performance, it may also be an asset. Zuckerberg has in the past stated that ATT could ultimately help Facebook, and it’s a sentiment he again repeated during the earning’s call.

Apple’s changes, according to Zuckerberg, are making “e-commerce and customer acquisition less effective on the web.” Still, Facebook could benefit from the lessened…

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