Apple’s new privacy features continue to hit Facebook as more iPhone users forego tracking their devices. A year after its launch, Facebook is taking another hit, and it looks like the revenue loss will be even bigger than expected. According to a new analysis, the iPhone maker’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) features will cost Facebook $12.8 billion in 2022.
In February, I reported how Apple’s TCA privacy features, launched in iOS 14.5, would cost the social network more than $10 billion. As iPhone users start to care more about their privacy and Apple CEO Tim Cook continues to highlight this area in the company’s marketing, more and more people are saying no. tracking on their iPhones. This results in an estimated drop of around 15-20% for advertisers on iOS.
Apple’s changes to ATT will have by far the biggest impact on Facebook, according to new data released by Lotame. Lotame predicts a revenue impact of $16 billion, including $2.2 billion for YouTube, compared to $546 million for Snap and $323 million for Twitter.
ATT’s iPhone privacy features limit app tracking by revoking access to the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), the unique code assigned to each user. Apple can technically control this because when you opt out of tracking, advertisers receive a string of zeros instead of the code.
But is Apple’s TCA as good as it looks?
Yet even since its inception, some astute developers have unsurprisingly tried to circumvent Apple’s privacy features, as highlighted by the anti-tracking app Lockdown Privacy, which called ATT “functionally useless.” ‘last year. See the article: Astronomers simulate the birth of the first galaxies. Today, another study showed how flaws in Apple’s ATT framework can allow large companies such as Facebook and Google to collect large amounts of first-hand data, as Ars Technica reports.
“Our results suggest that the societyTrackers, especially larger ones with access to large amounts of first-party data, continue to track users behind the scenes,” the researchers write. This happens through a series of methods, they say, including using IP addresses to link installation-specific identifiers between applications and “through the login functionality provided by individual applications, such as Google or Facebook login, or email address. »
“Especially in combination with other user and device characteristics, which our data confirmed are still widely collected by tracking companies, it would be possible to analyze user behavior at through apps and websites (i.e. fingerprinting and cohort tracking),” the researchers said. “A direct result of the TCA could therefore be that existing power imbalances in the digital tracking ecosystem are reinforced. »
Considering that iPhone privacy features are wasting billions of dollars in revenue, ATT is certainly working to some extent. There will always be developers trying to circumvent the iPhone maker’s rules, so maybe that aspect could be controlled a bit better, and the loopholes filled by Apple. Apple’s ATT certainly isn’t perfect, but in a time when people are concerned about the data habits of Facebook and other companies, it’s a start.