Apple and Facebook have taken to opposite corners when it comes to protecting the privacy of their users. Apple has seemingly delighted in striking blow after blow at Facebook, reducing its options to track and monetize one billion-plus iPhone and iPad users around the world. Meanwhile, Facebook has accused Apple of anti-competitive practices, alleging that denying the social media giant access to collect private data and push countless ads is somehow disadvantaging all its users. This charge against Apple is now building an epic head of steam.
When details of iOS 14 first came to light, the standout development was an app-by-app opt in for advertising trackers. This is a tectonic shift for the advertising industry—asking users specifically to agree to be tracked by an app is wryly amusing. Almost no-one will say yes, of course. Facebook warned that the move could halve its mobile advertising revenues. The fact that Apple has surprisingly delayed the move signals just how big a deal this is for millions of apps to rewrite their code to comply. The direction of travel, though, is clear.
Now this long-running battle between Apple and Facebook has taken another twist. As reported by The Information, “Facebook [has] opened a new fight with Apple over messaging.” Facebook has long suggested that Apple should follow Google’s lead and open up the default messaging slot in iOS 14 to competing platforms. “We feel people should be able to choose different messaging apps and the default on their phone,” Facebook told The Information. “Generally, everything is moving this direction anyway.”
Given Apple has relented on allowing users to select the default mail and browser apps, has this now become a possibility? Almost certainly and thankfully not. Android is much more configurable than iOS. And while this appeals to much of the user base, it does mean that Apple users are better protected from a security and privacy perspective. Facebook Messenger—with its billion-plus users—is a popular alternative to Android’s default Messages app. But Facebook Messenger is not default end-to-end encrypted, which Facebook itself recommends to keep yourself secure….