Facebook’s Stab At Apple Is Way Wide Of The Mark

There is a time for heroes and a time for villains, but there is never a time where Facebook is the former.

Dec. 17, 2020

Dear oh dear, what have we got this time? Facebook, (n)ever the champion of the people, has begun running ads decrying Apple over a privacy change that it claims will hurt small businesses that rely on targeted ads.

Yes, the same Facebook that has literally sought to cripple its smaller competitors time and again to the point that we barely notice how heinous a company it can be at times, is standing up for the little guy. You can imagine that this is going down about as well as a feather in wet cement.

Facebook publicly criticized Apple’s upcoming iOS privacy changes in full-page newspaper ads in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, stating: “We’re standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere.” 

The attack relates to the fact that iOS will force apps next year to ask for permission if they want to use ad-tracking. It’s expected that most users will refuse, which will mean apps won’t be able to easily offer personalized ads. Ads reflecting user interests earn more money for app developers than generic ads.

How is this a bad thing?

If you’re a normal, everyday human being who values the slight bit of privacy we might have in our lives these days, then it’s not a bad thing at all. 

The only reason that Facebook is mad is that it generates about 98.5% of its global revenue from advertising, and they want to drag ‘the little guy’ into the feud to somehow portray themselves as the underdog against the big bad Apple. Pot, meet kettle?

Though Apple is no angel, it has publicly stated that it is in favor of user’s right to privacy, and is not opposed to ad-tracking, but simply wants it to be transparent to users. Facebook, meanwhile, targets users on its products such as Facebook and Instagram with personalized ads via mined data. Apple launched new App Store Privacy labels this week, shining a light on how iOS apps use your data. Notably, the privacy label on Facebook’s iOS app expands across several pages, listing all the data that can be used to track you across apps and websites owned by other companies.

This latest stunt from Facebook is not unsurprising as the company attempts to rescue its most crucial revenue generator. Just shy of an $800 billion market cap, Zuckerberg & Co. are on their way to that $1 trillion milestone, but they’ll be far more concerned about protecting their revenue, which could now see several quarters of decline. 

Though it may suffer some near-term volatility because of this, it is not going to suddenly collapse because of one iOS update, but it should really learn when to pick its battles, diversify its revenue stream, and for the love of God, just stop being so evil.

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