Data Privacy Exhaustion Is Real
Protecting our personal info is a lifestyle choice many of us aren’t making
“I am currently reading an article titled ‘10 Ways to Keep Sweaty Hands From Holding You Back,’” a man shouts from a toilet cubicle in Apple’s latest iPhone video. The ad is about a new feature in iOS 14 that blocks tracking cookies: bits of code that follow you across the internet so you can be targeted by ads. In the video, people shout aloud private information to highlight what tracking cookies are doing behind the scenes and how ridiculous it is that we accept them.
With the release of iOS 14, the iPhone will ask if you’re happy to be tracked. If you’re not, Apple will block the trackers. This is great for privacy advocates but awful for companies that rely on revenue from ads. As much as Google and Facebook say people like relevant ads when given the choice, most people will almost certainly choose not to be tracked.
This is particularly bad for Facebook. “We’re still trying to understand what these changes will look like and how they will impact us,” Facebook’s chief financial officer, David Wehner, told CNBC last month. During an earnings call, Facebook went further, saying this could hurt its revenue. In a statement to developers, Facebook even said the change may render some services “so ineffective on iOS 14 that it may not make sense to offer” them at all. A report in The Information goes into detail on the effect on Facebook and others. “Apple’s move has gone too far, disproportionately disrupting a vibrant app ecosystem,” one ad company CEO told The Information.