Apple vs. Facebook: He who hoovers last hoovers best

From Bloomberg’s “Apple Defends Delay of Privacy Feature, Slams Facebook” posted Thursday:

The Cupertino, California-based technology company criticized Facebook’s approach to advertising and user tracking, according to a written reply sent to several human rights and privacy organizations, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Human Rights Watch:

By contrast, Facebook and others have a very different approach to targeting. Not only do they allow the grouping of users into smaller segments, they use detailed data about online browsing activity to target ads. Facebook executives have made clear their intent is to collect as much data as possible across both first and third party products to develop and monetize detailed profiles of their users, and this disregard for user privacy continues to expand to include more of their products.

Facebook responded Thursday afternoon with a long statement accusing Apple of trying to distract users from its own privacy issues. The social network also accused Apple of using its size to block competitors, like Facebook, from running their advertising business.

“They are using their dominant market position to self-preference their own data collection while making it nearly impossible for their competitors to use the same data,” Facebook said in the statement. “They claim it’s about privacy, but it’s about profit.”

My take: Facebook’s past practices stink too bad to pass this smell test. Jury’s still out on Apple’s advertising business.

15 Comments

  1. Fred Stein said:
    AAPL, FB, GOOGL all trade at about the same forward P/E multiple.

    FB and GOOGL depend on profits from ads or their stock price collapses. For AAPL, ad profit represents a tiny fraction of their “E”.

    FB and GOOGL must feed the beast.

    4
    November 20, 2020
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      FB and GOOGL depend on profits from ads or their stock price collapses

      That being the case, when Apple activates its ad blocker they are up Shitts Creek.

      4
      November 20, 2020
      • Robert Paul Leitao said:
        Gregg:

        Do you have an estimate of the possible revenue impact on Google and Facebook when Apple deploys the “nuclear advertising option”? Any idea on the creative “workarounds” Google or Facebook might deploy in response?

        1
        November 20, 2020
        • Gregg Thurman said:
          I don’t, Robert, as I haven’t read their respective 10Qs. But it seems to me that with the US being the richest advertising market in the world, and iPhone/iPad overwhelmingly control the US market, losing that ad revenue would be devastating.

          Given that iOS customers are more discerning than their Android counterparts (does Android even have counterparts to iOS customers?) I would suspect those opting out of tracking advertising would be very, very high.

          Ads will continue to show up, they just won’t be targeted, which will make them far less valuable. I can’t imagine a work around that can replace targeted ads.

          1
          November 21, 2020
  2. Joe Murphy said:
    “How the U.S. Military Buys Location Data from Ordinary Apps,” a Daring Fireball post RE: a report on Motherboard.

    Gruber’s comments give a different and disturbing perspective in how this connects and relates to the tech of information gathering.

    1
    November 20, 2020
    • David Emery said:
      I, for one, trust the US military A LOT MORE than I trust either Google or Facebook.

      1
      November 20, 2020
  3. Joe Murphy said:
    @David E.

    We’re in complete agreement. My concern isn’t the military but of unscrupulous private industry, the typical Adv market gaining information through Trojan horses of apps I, and others, give permission to without suspecting they may carry unscrupulous frameworks.

    1
    November 20, 2020
    • David Emery said:
      I worry about FB and Google. But I worry about all those companies that plant trackers on websites a lot more, and the back-room data harvesters and brokers (where I have no freaking clue they exist) that I despise most of all.

      3
      November 20, 2020
  4. Steven Philips said:
    If Apple deploys it’s nuclear option then Congress will find a way to say Apple is the bad guy!

    2
    November 20, 2020
    • Robert Paul Leitao said:
      Steven:

      That may be among the reasons Apple is showing restraint on deploying its privacy plan.

      2
      November 20, 2020
  5. Kirk DeBernardi said:
    After absorbing all of the comments above, I couldn’t help but think that with all the tracking and “surveillance” going on by simply using the internet with this Holy Grail being the pin-point targeting of ads, how absolutely and consistently hollow and ineffective these huge efforts have been to this milquetoast user.

    Of all the ads just the commentators on this blog have been exposed to as a target, how many have been clicked on? Dead money if not clicked, eh?

    I’ve clicked on SO, SO few that there have been far more accidental clicks than intended ones. I, for one, remain hardly an effective target for the money spend.

    Maybe I’m an outlier.

    1
    November 21, 2020

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