The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has shared its opinion about Facebook’s full-page newspaper ad campaign against Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency feature on iPhones. The EFF described Facebook’s campaign as “laughable”.
Facebook claimed that Apple’s new AppTrackingTransparancy for iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and tvOS 14 “will hurt small businesses who benefit from access to targeted advertising services.” EFF points out that Facebook is not telling you the whole story. Facebook’s complaint, according to EFF, is what Facebook stands to lose if its users learn more about exactly what it and other data brokers are up to behind the scenes.
Bottom line: “The Association of National Advertisers estimates that, when the “ad tech tax” is taken into account, publishers are only taking home between 30 and 40 cents of every dollar [spent on ads]”. The rest goes to third-party data brokers who keep the lights on by exploiting your information, and not to small businesses trying to work within a broken system to reach their customers.
EFF pointed out that small businesses cannot compete with large ad distribution networks on their own. Because the ad industry has promoted this fantasy that targeted advertising is superior to other methods of reaching customers, anything else will inherently command less value on ad markets, EFF reported.
Personally, I think EFF did an excellent job of explaining why Facebook’s “laughable” campaign is a problem. Facebook is worried that Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency feature will hurt Facebook’s chance to make money off the data it collects from its users.
This has nothing to do with an attempt to help small businesses. In my opinion, Facebook realizes that people don’t like to be tracked, and that targeted ads can be creepy. What we are seeing is Facebook having a panic attack about the amount of money they could lose after Apple, by default, prevents apps from collecting and sharing people’s data.
In the United States we are supposed to have certain rights under the 4th amendment of the U.S. Constitution:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
However in today’s world most of us don’t write letters and our “papers and effects” are online. They are on the social media sites we are members of and the websites we visit. So if the FBI comes knocking at the door of the ISP you use, your favorite search company or social media sites you visit and request they hand over your information to them. Will the company simply hand over the information or do they request a warrant. Another words which company has your back and which company does not. That is what the (EFF) Electronic Freedom Foundation investigated. This is the third year they have publish this report. They took a look at 18 tech companies and looked into their terms of service, privacy policies, advocacy, and courtroom track records, to see how they stack up. They looked at the following 6 criteria
- Requires a warrant for content
- Tell users about government data request
- Publishes transparency reports
- Publishes law enforcement guidelines
- Fights for users privacy rights in court
- Fights for users privacy rights in Congress
Out of the 18 companies they investigated only two companies received all six stars, Twitter and Sonic.net. Two companies MySpace and Verizon received zero stars. A full chart is available at the EFF website along with a PDF explaining what they looked for and how they evaluated it. According to the EFF they have notice some progress over the three years they have been doing the report, more companies are now letting individual know when a government entity is requesting information about them. It is nice to see that some companies are doing their part to protect our information from the government. Hopefully next year more companies will have more stars
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