Apple VS. Facebook: The battle of the privacy policies continued

Cambridge Analytica is a political data-analysis firm that gained its notorious reputation through its initial work on Trump’s 2016 campaign. Their work was premised around their competitive data collection on the American populace which essentially allowed them to build comprehensive personality profiles to facilitate and provide targeting criteria for the “psychographic targeting of ads.” Now given the breadth of their data that Cambridge Analytica had collected on the American electorate at the time, the question was raised as to how they came by such a sizeable and comprehensive dataset? The firm was ultimately accused of collecting and keeping the data of from between 50 to 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge or permission through the likes of a third party app developed by the firm called “thisisyourdigitallife”. This raw data was made available to Cambridge Analytica by Facebook.

This sets the scene for what can potentially be pinpointed as the beginning of Apple and Facebook’s privacy policy (amongst other things) war. The Cambridge Analytica scandal brought into question Facebook’s handling of its users private information. This can be seen as a turning point in Apple and Facebook’s previously functional and “mutually beneficial” relationship, with the public commentary coming from either party consisting of snide sniping. Both companies have worked synonymously with each other benefiting from the fact that the iPhone has housed all of Facebook’s apps and IPhone users love the phone because they can use it to access all of Facebook’s apps. Up until now these two companies haven’t been classified as direct competitors in terms of their product and service offerings, however this is about to change. As Zuckerberg announced earlier this year, “we increasingly see Apple as one of our biggest competitors. Apple has every incentive to use their dominant platform position to interfere with how our apps and other app work, which they regularly do to preference their own.”

The latest focus of the feud revolves around Apple’s software update that ensures that App developers include a pop up that requires users to give them permission in order for them to collect certain personal data, as well as the Apps’ ability to track the users’ activity. This in turn has an impact on Facebook, as well as other Apps’ abilities to target audiences with advertisements as well as track and determine the ROI of these. Understandably Apple and Facebook stand on opposite sides of the spectrum here with Apple believing that it’s allowing its users to do due diligence on who has access to what data, while Facebook believes that Apple is “abusing its market share” and killing small business revenue. Facebook is also concerned about how Apple plans on phrasing the text on the pop ups as this might influence a user’s decision to opt out.

With Apple and Facebook’s upcoming tech hardware releases, they are becoming closer competitors than ever before. Unfortunately for Facebook due to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, they don’t appear to have much of a leg to stand on when it comes to fighting Apple’s privacy policy updates. Whichever side of the spectrum you stand – something to keep in mind – is to always read your third party privacy policies, and if you have an Apple – you may not have a choice in the matter either way if you want that App.