Facebook App Pop-up To Explain Benefits Of Data Collection

Facebook is hoping to convince users of the benefits of data collection, in a new pop-up alert for its apps running on Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices.

The trial of the pop-up is in response to Apple’s upcoming privacy change, that will require apps on its App Store to display a summary of an app’s privacy practices and data collection. Users will soon be required to give explicit permission for apps to track them across the internet.

Essentially, this ‘nutrition label’ will explain to the user just what the app will do with their personal data, in a move that has already upset advertisers. Facebook, which depends on advertising revenue for most of its revenue, is also deeply unhappy at Apple’s move, which it has previously described as “devastating to small businesses”.

Pop-up alert

Into this comes the news that Facebook is testing a new pop-up alert for its app on the iPhone and iPad.

The Facebook pop-up hopes to convince users of the benefits of its apps (WhatsApp, Instagram etc) collecting personal data, namely the ability to keep its apps free of charge.

Facebook plans to show a prompt “of our own, along with Apple’s” in an effort to show users how personalized ads “support small businesses and keep apps free,” the company said in an update Monday to an older blog post.

“As we shared in December, we disagree with Apple’s approach, but will be showing their prompt to ensure stability for the businesses and people who use our services,” said Facebook. “Apple’s new prompt suggests there is a tradeoff between personalised advertising and privacy; when in fact, we can and do provide both. The Apple prompt also provides no context about the benefits of personalised ads.”

“To help people make a more informed decision, we’re also showing a screen of our own, along with Apple’s,” Facebook added. “It will provide more information about how we use personalised ads, which support small businesses and keep apps free.”

“If you accept the prompts for Facebook and Instagram, the ads you see on those apps won’t change,” Facebook added. “If you decline, you will still see ads, but they will be less relevant to you.”

“Agreeing to these prompts doesn’t result in Facebook collecting new types of data,” the platform stressed. “It just means that we can continue to give people better experiences. We feel that people deserve the additional context, and Apple has said that providing education is allowed.”

Facebook worry

Facebook is right to be concerned about this change, as it makes almost all of its revenue from advertising.

The firm has even repeatedly warned investors that Apple’s software changes could hurt its business if users reject tracking permissions.

But Facebook has had time to prepare, as Apple had first revealed at its annual World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June 2020, that with iOS 14, app developers would need to provide more information about the data they collect on users, with Apple displaying a summary of how apps use data such as location or tracking information.

But Apple’s move did not go down well with advertisers.

In July a group of European digital advertising associations criticised Apple for not adhering to an ad-industry system for seeking user consent under European privacy rules.

Developers were previously required to have a privacy policy and link it to their App Store product page, but the new labels will now package this privacy policy into a more visual format.

The label will be displayed near reviews and details about in-app purchases.

Then in September Apple confirmed it would delay the implementation of new privacy controls until early 2021, after the pushback from both Facebook and advertising associations.

The changes had been due to be implemented in September 2020.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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