Here’s How Apple’s New Anti-Tracking Tech Really Affects Facebook

The conventional wisdom is Apple’s limits on third-party tracking will damage Facebook’s ad business. But whether it actually does is far from certain.

Alex Kantrowitz
OneZero
Published in
5 min readApr 30, 2021

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When Apple released its new anti-tracking update this week, experts and commentators appeared certain it was terrible news for Facebook. The update asks iPhone owners if they want the apps they use to track them across the web. And given how Facebook’s ad business relies on tracking, this seemed devastating. “It’s certain to hurt,” Politico said. Revenue drops are coming, analysts predicted. Facebook itself disclosed the threat in financial filings.

But whether Apple’s update does much — or any — damage to Facebook’s ad business is far from settled. With third-party tracking limited, advertisers will still need to spend money, and it will be tough for them to disregard Facebook’s 2.7 billion daily users. Apple’s update also makes the data that apps collect on their own properties much more important, and Facebook has plenty of it. So while Apple’s move is a clear win for privacy, it may not be the surefire hit to Facebook many anticipate.

“It’s not like a marketer is going to suddenly say, ‘Well, cookies are dead, I guess we’ll close…

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Alex Kantrowitz
OneZero

Veteran journalist covering Big Tech and society. Subscribe to my newsletter here: https://bigtechnology.substack.com.