Apple v. Facebook for dummies : Joanna Stern breaks it down (video)

From the Wall Street Journal's "Why iOS 14.5 Started a Big Tech Fight" posted Thursday:

A new privacy feature in Apple’s iOS 14.5 requires apps to request permission to track you. And Facebook isn’t happy about it. WSJ’s Joanna Stern put Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Apple CEO Tim Cook into the ring to explain why this software update has kicked off a tech slugfest.

My take: Stern has a knack for keeping it simple.


  1. Michael Goldfeder said:
    She did a very good job of explaining this iOS update is all about the “user” controlling their own privacy and eliminating the ability to be tracked. Zuckerberg’s sham claim about this hurting small businesses being able to advertise and reach consumers is utter BS! Zuckerberg is right about one point though; this is going to be a headwind, but more like a category 8 hurricane to their business model.

    I remember those: “Rock em Sock em” robots. That was a fun game. Probably too violent for this current generation.

    April 18, 2021
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      Facebook doesn’t get any ad revenue from China and in the US gets most of its ad revenue from iOS users (the same is true in the EU).

      That’s because iOS users are (on average) wealthier and spend more online than do Android users. It also explains why Google spends so much just to be the DEFAULT browser on iOS.

      Facebook has no such capability (buy preferential treatment) and must rely on 3rd party captured data for its advertising business.

      In my opinion, it won’t be the loss of generic user data that will be Facebook’s undoing, it will the loss in the targeted value of that data, as it becomes more and more generic. Google won’t have that problem as it purchases access to that data as the default search engine on iOS devices.

      This situation, whereby Google’s advertising model becomes more dominant, will last until Congress determines Google search is a monopoly and that Google, using the wealth that monopoly generates to deny competitive entry by smaller firms.

      I only use Facebook to track my daughter’s accomplishments, and alternate between Duck Duck Go and Bing for search. I can see no difference in their respective search results.

      April 18, 2021
  2. David Emery said:
    Well, anyone who lets Facebook on his/her phone is a fool in the first place.

    But I find Apple’s advertising on the phone, particularly in News, to be almost as annoying. Add to that the listing for News+ articles that are not useful if you don’t have a News+ subscription, and News is probably the most annoying Apple app ever.

    April 18, 2021
    • Rodney Avilla said:
      And luckily the most annoying Apple app ever can be disabled so easily

      April 18, 2021
  3. Robert Paul Leitao said:
    Privacy should be a fundamental human right. Apple is providing device owners with the choice to be tracked and have their personal data sold and resold without further consent or to keep their data private. I view with great suspicion any enterprise that desires to deny consumers with the basic ability to maintain their privacy or to choose who can obtain and sell their personal data. How is deprivation of privacy without direct consumer consent somehow a benefit to small business? I use Apple Messages primarily because who I choose to converse with and the information I choose to exchange should be private and that information should not be sold to 3rd parties.

    April 18, 2021
  4. Robert Paul Leitao said:
    I think one simple question resolves this debate: Who do you trust more with your personal data, Tim Cook and Apple or Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook? In my view, anything said after answering that question is just more words. I don’t mean to disparage Mr. Zuckerberg and Facebook in any way, I’m just not comfortable with that company’s business model. I’d like to choose who has access to my data. The two CEOs and their respective enterprises have vastly different views on the benefits to consumers of preserving privacy.

    April 18, 2021
  5. Duane Bemister said:
    If it ends up forcing developers to charge for their apps it will be a great benefit to society. There is no free lunch.

    April 18, 2021
  6. Jerry Doyle said:
    I take a contrarian view from my brothers & sisters on the blog. iOS 14.5 will have little to no effect on FB, long term and perhaps, short term. The markets already have decided for us.

    In the last 3 months during this national tempestuous discussion FB stock has catapulted $50 dollars higher, or roughly around 16%. The markets seem not to care. There-in lies your answer. Also, as consumers move more to shopping on-line the consumer is going to desire targeted ads to mitigate the need to go searching for retail items of their liking & choice. The FB model enhances that aspect of consumer shopping. Consumers long ago showed a willingness to capitulate privacy for subsequent rewards of “freebies.” It’s the American way of life.

    April 18, 2021
    • George Row said:
      @Jerry, I can’t see why any sane person would opt in to “targeted ads”, that is ads that are more likely to manipulate them into buying something.
      When I have decided that I need something, I am quite happy to search for (reviews of) those things that I might buy. That is the power of the internet for the consumer.
      Why would anyone voluntarily hand the power to initiate a transaction to the retailer?
      I don’t respond well to being interrupted by people cold calling me, whether it is on my doorstep, on my landline or in an app that I am using for some other purpose.

      I will be very happy to select the:
      “no tracking from any app”
      option in System Preferences.

      April 18, 2021
      • Charles A. said:
        “@Jerry, I can’t see why any sane person would opt in to “targeted ads”, that is ads that are more likely to manipulate them into buying something.
        When I have decided that I need something, I am quite happy to search for (reviews of) those things that I might buy. That is the power of the internet for the consumer.
        Why would anyone voluntarily hand the power to initiate a transaction to the retailer?”

        Two reasons:
        1. Many people are not sane.
        2. Laziness.

        April 18, 2021
      • Kirk DeBernardi said:
        @ George Row —

        I tend to agree with Jerry on this. As my Dad would say, “It’s the nature of the beast.”

        Call it “FOMO” — “Fear Of Missing Out”.

        I believe that those who gravitate towards inserting Facebook squarely into their lives are such a beast, sucking on the breast of being connected and involved and generally don’t care what happens behind the scenes in the great ether with their data OR being targeted. A “bring it on” mentality.

        A variation of rather getting junk mail than getting no mail at all. Getting some means your “a somebody”, getting none means your “a nobody”. One a confirmation, the other a rejection.

        April 19, 2021
        • David Emery said:
          It’s time for the monthly deluge of FB ads, I’m always fascinated by what FB thinks, with all of its tracking, is ‘relevant’ to me. This time it’s been socks and shoes and banks. The least appropriate ad in my feed yesterday was for hair curlers (PED can testify that’s something I do not need….) At least the ads were reasonably local. For a long time, FB thought I lived in western MN/Eastern ND.

          I might well be more sympathetic to the notion of ‘targeted ads’ if (a) I wasn’t getting deluged by all the internet advertising in general and (b) the signal-to-noise ratio, the amount of ads that were actually relevant, was MUCH higher. Most of what I see is just junk, not just on FB but also on my phone (Apple News, which I really don’t like that much) or on websites (for the ads that get through ad blockers.)

          April 20, 2021
  7. Kirk DeBernardi said:
    BTW —

    Bravo to Joanna Stern with this video. I had no idea that the tracking methodology was so basically simple…

    …and so quietly nefarious.

    Put simply, Apple is giving their users a choice. Nothing more, nothing less.

    April 19, 2021
  8. Kirk DeBernardi said:
    One more thing —

    I’ve loved that video comment about privacy from Steve Jobs ever since the moment I saw it first hand. A conviction of universal benefit simply and emphatically stated.

    Taken succinctly from the man himself, Tim Cook is merely putting wheels on Jobs’ stated passion.

    April 19, 2021

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