Last Updated on May 19, 2021 by Calvin C.
Facebook and privacy
If you think Facebook is still all about reconnecting with your friends and family, well think again.
The company continues to be in the papers for the wrong reasons and these center mainly around it’s poorly defined privacy policies.
With more than 2 billion users on its platform, the social media giant is now deeply rooted in providing highly targeted advertising opportunities.
And no, this targeted advertising is largely done without your consent which is why you get highly personalized Ads when using the service.
Every page that you have liked, your relationship status and all the other personal details about you are used to build your profile.
This makes it easy for advertisers to display Ads to the right clients on Facebook with pin-point accuracy.
The truth is you are a product that is sold to the highest bidder and you provide your personal information for free.
In other words, you say to advertisers, “Hey, I am right here! Show me the Ads I am interested in.”
Apple to the rescue
While some Facebook users don’t mind this invasion of privacy, others prefer to give consent to grant access to their personal information.
This is where Apple has jumped in to protect that group in iOS 14 update.
With this update, when you launch the Facebook app on your iOS device, you get an enticing prompt from Facebook first:
“Allow Facebook to use your app and website activity
- Get ads that are more personalized
- Support businesses that rely on ads to reach customers
To provide a better ads experience, we need permission to use future activity that other apps and websites send us from this device. This won’t give us access to new information.
Learn more about how we limit our use of your activity if you turn off this device setting, and related settings on Facebook.”
Then Apple displays the following prompt which is more of a warning:
“Allow Facebook to track your activity across other companies’ apps and websites?“
You have an option to choose between “Ask App not to track” and “Allow”.
If you block the App from tracking, Apple pulls the plug on all tracking functions of Facebook.
This means you see a limited number of targeted Ads, resulting in less opportunities for advertisers and less revenue for Facebook.
Response by Facebook
Facebook took the fight to the media, highlighting that Apple’s move hurts small businesses that rely on Facebook Ads to boost sales.
According to Facebook, their goal is to show customers more personalized ads instead of random ads.
However, if you look at it, other ads businesses actually benefit from the move because they now have more space to compete with Facebook.
The CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, highlighted in a data privacy conference in response to Facebook:
“If a business is built on misleading users, on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all, it does not deserve our praise. It deserves reform.”
It’s no secret that a lot of highly personal information is available on Facebook and cybercriminals take advantage of users who don’t take precautions to secure their data.
The data is harvested and usually sold to third parties especially on the Dark Web.
In one article, I highlighted the dangers of uploading too much personal information on platforms like Facebook because criminals can easily take advantage of that.
As the world moves more and more into the digital realm, security and privacy online is something you have to take seriously.
This is why Apple’s move to remind users of activities by apps on their devices is crucial in safeguarding the privacy of users.
Some, if not most, users are not aware of the significance of protecting their personal data.
To advertisers, personal data is valuable as it gives access to many other attributes of users, leading to better conversions.
Your privacy is your right and you have to consent to give your personal information to any organisation.
Apple is calling bad players to put their house in order because it values the privacy of its users.
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Make sure you use a VPN every time you go online to protect your privacy and security.
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