Apple’s App Tracking privacy push is turning out to be Facebook’s worst-case scenario

Two weeks after Apple rolled out updates to operating systems that power the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV which require developers to request permission before tracking users across apps and sites, less than six percent of those users have opted-in. Apple’s App Tracking privacy push is turning out to be Facebook’s worst-case scenario.

Apple's App Tracking Transparency

Jason Aten for Inc.:

That’s a staggeringly low number that falls short of even the most conservative estimates. Advertisers had estimated that as many as 40 percent of users would enable tracking, but that looks like an overly optimistic prediction.

Certainly, that number must be sounding alarms at Facebook, which has made quite a public fight over Apple’s move…

Facebook’s entire business model depends on collecting as much information as possible in order to show users what it calls “personalized ads.” The bigger problem, however, is that developers and advertisers might just realize that the world isn’t coming to an end.

In that scenario, Facebook’s value proposition starts to look less convincing.

Of course, Apple has an ad platform within the App Store. It’s a relatively small business for Apple, and the company has–for a very long time–ceded customer acquisition for apps to Facebook… Now, if Facebook’s ads are less useful because they can’t be targeted or attributed to individual customers, advertisers–especially game developers–just might find Apple’s ad platform a lot more interesting. That’s literally Facebook’s worst-case scenario.

MacDailyNews Take: Gee, that’s too bad for Facebook. If user privacy upends your business model, it’s not a sound one.

Now, as we wrote last month, from personal experience, nearly twenty years now (!), the life of an independent publisher is an interesting one!

Right now, online ads don’t pay the bills (if you can, please help by contributing or by whitelisting us in your ad blockers), so the prospect of ad prices dropping further as a result of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency is daunting, but also exciting as any shakeup also holds the prospect of going the opposite way, where ads – and fewer of then, too – actually work to finance the site. When that was the case, visitors got a site for free and we were able to do the work and pay the bills. Then ad rates dropped, ad blocking arose, the number of ads increased causing more ad blocking, and many high profile independent websites have gone belly up in recent years.

By the way, we’re all for Apple’s App Tracking Transparency privacy push. Users should know what data they’re sharing – before they share it – and be able to control it at will.

Privacy means people know what they’re signing up for, in plain English, and repeatedly. I’m an optimist; I believe people are smart, and some people want to share more data than other people do. Ask them. Ask them every time. Make them tell you to stop asking them if they get tired of your asking them. Let them know precisely what you’re going to do with your data. — Steve Jobs

Anyway, we’ll see how App Tracking Transparency shakes out. The online ad situation as it exists today isn’t working very well (or at all), so hopefully it results in a positive change that doesn’t just benefit Big Tech, but also helps long-suffering independent publishers like us, too!

As an aside, we’re currently seeing about 15% of our revenue goal financed by reader contributions about a year after launching it at the request of longtime readers who prefer to use ad-blockers, but who would also like to be able support the site’s continued operation. We thank you so much for supporting our independent tech blog. You’re the reason we’re still here today!

Please, regular visitors, to help support MacDailyNews, either contribute or whitelist us. Thank you!

Another 20% of our revenue goal is brought in via ads. Yes, we’re currently operating at about 35% of our revenue goal which is, uh… suboptimal, but we’re beginning to come off the COVID-19 shock to online advertising and now ready to see what App Tracking Transparency will do – hopefully good things!


  1. ” If user privacy upends your business model, it’s not a sound one.”
    True. Privacy should be decided by the Law, not by an Apple IT department that anti-competitively regulates it through a default setting all while setting up their own advertising platform.

    How I love it when aholes fight.

      1. A-cyniq is the a-hole of MDN… a cancerous leech. A bald man fighting for a comb, only to try explaining he needs it to straighten his pubez so there’s something straight in his life.

        He’s the Fecebook of MDN… congratulations on being a true ahole

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.