Why your iPhone privacy is at the center of their data showdown

Your iPhone will soon be a battlefield in the clash between Apple and Facebook.

When Apple updates iOS14, its iPhone and iPad operating system, in the next few weeks, you and up to about 1 billion or so of its users will face a decision: Do you want apps like Facebook to keep collecting data to offer personalized ads across other sites and apps?

iPhone users currently can go into settings to prevent cross-site tracking. But Apple is adding this “App Tracking Transparency” feature to give consumers more control over how their data is handled.

So while tech titans Facebook and Apple are facing off over privacy and the collection of user data, the real conflict runs deeper, hitting at how they operate and make money.

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Apple vs. Facebook: Do ads need data?

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said he thinks too much data is being collected needlessly and that it can be exploited. “Technology does not need vast troves of personal data, stitched together across dozens of websites and apps, in order to succeed,” he said at the International Conference on Computers, Privacy & Data Protection, a virtual gathering on Jan. 28. “Advertising existed and thrived for decades without it.”

The biggest target of this change is Facebook, which has built its a $40 billion U.S. digital advertising business – second only to that of Google’s $50 billion, eMarketer estimates – on being able to help marketers deliver more relevant ads to consumers based on what they like and other sites they visit.

Facebook has said it plans to issue its own prompt to iPhone and iPad users asking app users whether they will allow the social network to track their activity as a means of delivering more personalized ads. “Personalized ads are an important way people discover small businesses on Facebook and Instagram, and how these ads help small businesses grow from an idea into a livelihood,” Facebook said in a post late February. .