2020 will be remembered not only for the pandemic associated with the spread of the coronavirus, but also for the unprecedented number of fakes and conspiracy theories that emerged amid the crisis.
The largest IT corporations are faced with a number of claims from the US federal authorities, which will somehow affect them in the near future. In addition, the companies themselves have launched a real war with each other, justifying it by the protection of users’ personal data.
In addition to the Senate hearings on the possible monopolization of the market by the four largest Internet companies in America, which took place in the summer of 2020, Apple Corporation hit hard on its counterparts – Google and Facebook.
The fact is that the latest update of the iOS 14 operating system, which is already installed on 72% of smartphones, allows users to disable the collection of personal data inside applications. The new developer rules went into effect on December 8th. Facebook was the first to express its outrage.
- Google, which in theory also suffered from the innovations, did not make public statements, however, as users noticed, the company’s popular applications were last updated the day before the new rules for developers came into force – on December 7.
A decade-long war
However, if before that the heads of the two corporations only exchanged “pleasantries”, now a real media battle is unfolding between the giants. In the summer of 2020, Facebook partially supported the Coalition for App Fairness and tried to insert a message into the iOS app that Apple was charging a 30% commission on in-app purchases. The App Store did not miss this update, and the company had to remove the notification.
According to Facebook, restrictions on the collection of personal data in iOS 14 will make it impossible for small businesses to create and order targeted ads on their platform, which will lead to a decrease in their sales and, accordingly, profits. According to the company, targeting on their platform can reduce the cost of promoting goods and services by up to 60% in comparison with non-personalized ones.
Apple, in turn, insists that they do not restrict the possibilities for advertising, and recalled Facebook of its disdain for users’ personal data.
Nevertheless, a number of experts note that Apple is being cunning in this matter. If you look at the template of a pop-up window that asks the user for permission to track his personal data, you will notice that the iOS developers have used the trick dark pattern… The Ask Application Do Not Track button is located above the Allow button. In addition, it looks much more massive, which intuitively pushes the user to choose this particular option.
We believe users should have the choice over the data that is being collected about them and how it’s used. Facebook can continue to track users across apps and websites as before, App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14 will just require that they ask for your permission first. pic.twitter.com/UnnAONZ61I
– Tim Cook (@tim_cook) December 17, 2020
Quiet response of the search giant
But Facebook isn’t alone in being hit by the new rules. Google, which owns the most popular search engine in the world, also fell under the restrictions of iOS 14. In addition to personalized search ads, developers of shareware applications that make money from displaying ads in them may also suffer in the future.
Google’s 15 popular apps, such as YouTube, Gmail and Google Drive, were last updated on or before December 7, just one day before the new App Store Publishing Policy went into effect.
The company probably took this step in order to avoid the inclusion of a pop-up window asking for permission to collect personal data. However, sooner or later, the company will still have to accept new rules of the game if it wants to support its users on the world’s second most popular mobile OS.
And what about Apple?
The Cupertino company is moving step by step towards its Privacy First concept, stating privacy as a key value. Apple, just like its peers, has a huge amount of data about its users. Algorithms in Apple + and Music select relevant content based on data, Cloud stores terabytes of photos, and Apple Pay tracks every transaction.
The company does not make any profit from the activities of Facebook and Google, which provide services to users, at most for free. The main source of income from iOS is purchases and microtransactions in the App Store, which, by the way, deduct Apple 30% of the commission from each operation, and in 2020 brought the company $ 64 billion. Therefore, the company is more focused on popularizing a culture of subscriptions to everything: music, movies, podcasts, magazines and games.
On the one hand, companies publicly declare that they care about their users. However, in reality, they are only interested in their own income. And what the enmity of the giants will lead to is unknown. Only one thing is clear – no one is going to give in. As a result, each party will find new ways to collect user data, thanks to which corporations make billions.
And the proceedings with the authorities have just begun. And as Microsoft’s experience shows, it can drag on for more than one year and lead to absolutely unpredictable consequences.
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