EFF denounces Facebook's 'laughable campaign' against Apple's anti-tracking features

Posted:
in iOS
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has declared Facebook's attack against Apple's anti-tracking initiatives as a "laughable campaign," one that actually works against the small businesses that the social network is supposedly trying to protect.




Facebook's ongoing media campaign to try and pressure Apple into halting its program of changes to limit the amount of ad tracking that takes place across Apple's ecosystem has already received criticism from Apple CEO Tim Cook and the company itself. Now, the privacy-focused non-profit EFF has waded into the argument, and has sided with Apple.

In an article published on Friday to the EFF's website, the group spells out that Facebook's campaign, which largely consists of a media blitz claiming Apple's privacy changes will be bad for small businesses, is actually the opposite. Instead of protecting privacy, the EFF says it is a "laughable attempt from Facebook" to distract users from its "poor track record of anticompetitive behavior and privacy issues," and to derail pro-privacy moves that would be bad for Facebook's business.

Apple's AppTrackingTransparency feature rolling out to iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 is applauded by the EFF, as "requiring trackers to request your consent before stalking you across the Internet should be an obvious baseline." By enabling users to choose which third-party trackers can or cannot function, the change "gives users more knowledge of what apps are doing, helps protect users from abuse, and allows them to make the best decisions for themselves."

The feature is "one more step in the right direction," the EFF reckons, "reducing developer abuse by giving users knowledge and control over their own personal data."

On the Facebook campaign against it, the EFF says it's not about small businesses, and is "really about who benefits from the normalization of surveillance-powered advertising, and what Facebook stands to lose if its users learn more about exactly what it and other data brokers are up to behind the scenes."

Targeted advertising, which relies on such trackers, are thought to earn more money than untargeted ads, but the EFF claims the extra revenue doesn't reach creators of content or app developers. "Instead, the majority of any extra money earned by targeted ads ends up in the pockets of these data brokers," writes the EFF, naming Facebook and Google as two beneficiaries.

As a "handful of companies control the online advertising market," the EFF says small businesses cannot compete effectively, in part due to the ad industry itself promoting "this fantasy that targeted advertising is superior to other methods of reaching customers," in turn making untargeted ads less valuable.

"Facebook touts itself in this case as protecting small businesses, and that couldn't be further from the truth," the EFF charges. "Facebook has locked them into a situation which they are forced to be sneaky and adverse to their own customers. The answer cannot be to defend that broken system at the cost of their own users' privacy and control."

In conclusion, the EFF reiterates how App Tracking Transparency is a "great step forward" for Apple. "When a company does the right thing for its users, EFF will stand with it, just as we will come down hard on companies that do the wrong thing. Here, Apple is right and Facebook is wrong."
dewmeDogperson
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,314member
    It's amusing that comments from the (sort of) general public on articles about FB's rants are 100% behind Apple and 100% anti-Facebook. Everyone hates Facebook, they only use it because it's the only option for some things for some people. Zuck is clueless in that he thinks people like FB. They don't. They also rightly point out that FB does nothing for small businesses and that FB is a hideous data mining monolith that exists only to serve Facebook (and the lizard man).
    edited December 2020 OfersvanstromviclauyycflyingdpronnolsNotoriousDEVwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 23
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,448member
    Zuckerberg is pulling a Trump here. He thinks if you tell a lie often enough people will start to believe it.
    rob53dewmegenovelleXedwilliamlondonOferviclauyycbageljoeymattinozflyingdp
  • Reply 3 of 23
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,636member
    EFF’s statement about the data brokers making the most money is analogous to medical insurance companies making more money than the doctors we’re paying. There’s too much advertising to enjoy anything anymore. 
    larryjwwilliamlondonOfersvanstromflyingdpronnDogpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 23
    elijahg said:
    It's amusing that comments from the (sort of) general public on articles about FB's rants are 100% behind Apple and 100% anti-Facebook. Everyone hates Facebook, they only use it because it's the only option for some things for some people. Zuck is clueless in that he thinks people like FB. They don't. They also rightly point out that FB does nothing for small businesses and that FB is a hideous data mining monolith that exists only to serve Facebook (and the lizard man).
    What? You haven't seen the newly created accounts with messages in the style of: "I (not a fake person) is a small business owner that is making all my money thanks to FB ads; and as such I support FB and is feeling hurt by evil Apple attacking FB."?  :D

    (I'm still trying to figure out how someone could be stupid enough to clear attempts like those. I mean, there must have been a meeting somewhere discussing it?)
    ronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 23
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 1,152member
    I hope Facebook doesn’t censor that article.😉
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 23
    elijahg said:
    It's amusing that comments from the (sort of) general public on articles about FB's rants are 100% behind Apple and 100% anti-Facebook. Everyone hates Facebook, they only use it because it's the only option for some things for some people. Zuck is clueless in that he thinks people like FB. They don't. They also rightly point out that FB does nothing for small businesses and that FB is a hideous data mining monolith that exists only to serve Facebook (and the lizard man).
    “The lizard man”. That’s a keeper! Thanks...
    elijahgwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 23
    elijahg said:
    Everyone hates Facebook, they only use it because it's the only option for some things for some people. Zuck is clueless in that he thinks people like FB. They don't.
    Unfortunately, that isn’t entirely true. Friends of mine, a couple, absolutely love Facebook and are always trying to get me to join. They can’t say enough good things about it. I have heard from other friends that this couple basically use it as a platform to brag about their lives, constantly dumping photos of their vacations, posting a video that “accidentally” shows the expensive cars in the garage, that sort of thing. 

    The most bizarre part is they do not act that way in real life. At all. 

    He also relies on FB to get all his news. If he didn’t see it on FB he questions if it is actual. 

    Not to mention the many people I know who say they don’t care if they are tracked around the internet and physically. Straight up, “I don’t care!”

    It’s people like these that will only see Facebook’s story and stay on the side of Facebook. 
    ronntobianwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 23
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,670member
    I actually like FB a lot. The essential idea of connecting people and all the thousands of special interest groups reminiscent of usenet are great. The tracking, the manipulation and selling of user data sucks big time. The former trumps the second for most people and for that reason regulation, oversight, transparency are all essential. FB probably should be turned into a public utility with no advertising and no user mining. A utility of the common good regulated for the common good, by public policy. I see no way a private company can self regulate. That never works.

    tokyojimumuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 23
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,388member
    svanstrom said:
    (I'm still trying to figure out how someone could be stupid enough to clear attempts like those. I mean, there must have been a meeting somewhere discussing it?)
    Bad news: there are at least 70 million people in the US alone that gullible and stupid.
    XedtokyojimuRayz2016svanstromDogpersoncitylightsapplewatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 23
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,388member

    paxman said:
    I actually like FB a lot. The essential idea of connecting people and all the thousands of special interest groups reminiscent of usenet are great. The tracking, the manipulation and selling of user data sucks big time. The former trumps the second for most people and for that reason regulation, oversight, transparency are all essential. FB probably should be turned into a public utility with no advertising and no user mining. A utility of the common good regulated for the common good, by public policy. I see no way a private company can self regulate. That never works.

    Agreed with your comments but trying to nationalize FB will never fly in the US. What's ultimately going to need to happen (and I'm sadly doubtful this will ever pass Congress) is nothing short of a full-blown privacy amendment to the US Constitution -- something akin to Europe's GDPR but un-reversible -- before a public right to privacy on the internet (and related civil rights on the same general topic) will ever be recognized by the federal government.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 23
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,670member
    chasm said:
    paxman said:
    I actually like FB a lot. The essential idea of connecting people and all the thousands of special interest groups reminiscent of usenet are great. The tracking, the manipulation and selling of user data sucks big time. The former trumps the second for most people and for that reason regulation, oversight, transparency are all essential. FB probably should be turned into a public utility with no advertising and no user mining. A utility of the common good regulated for the common good, by public policy. I see no way a private company can self regulate. That never works.

    Agreed with your comments but trying to nationalize FB will never fly in the US. What's ultimately going to need to happen (and I'm sadly doubtful this will ever pass Congress) is nothing short of a full-blown privacy amendment to the US Constitution -- something akin to Europe's GDPR but un-reversible -- before a public right to privacy on the internet (and related civil rights on the same general topic) will ever be recognized by the federal government.
    Yeah, I agree nationalizing FB is unlikely to happen :smiley:. At least not in the foreseeable future. It really ought to be though, like roads, the military, the US postal service and in my view healthcare should be. There are many services that have become almost essential to survival and it makes no sense that these should be controlled by private enterprise. Run by, perhaps, but not controlled by. And the public right to privacy should definitely be written into the constitution. 
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 23
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    I feel there is a solution to this, and it might lie in a collaboration between Apple and Google. 
    muthuk_vanalingamgatorguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 23
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,630member
    Rayz2016 said:
    I feel there is a solution to this, and it might lie in a collaboration between Apple and Google. 
    They wouldn't need to invent it they could just endorse and provide user storage for one of the open source open standard projects around.
    Still once they do they have pretty much dictated the winner of the standard.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 23
    mattinoz said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    I feel there is a solution to this, and it might lie in a collaboration between Apple and Google. 
    They wouldn't need to invent it they could just endorse and provide user storage for one of the open source open standard projects around.
    Still once they do they have pretty much dictated the winner of the standard. 
    Not really.

    Both Google and Apple have already tried in those areas, and at the level that we need for this there's just no traction.

    If you start your perspective from inside one of those open systems, you already being a happy user, then it makes sense how everything magically will just work if both Google and Apple put their weight behind a solution; but practically most people will still just stand there and be like "why do I need this?", and then move on with their lives. At most there will be a great deal of dead accounts if both Google and Apple force-include all their users.

    Personally I dropped out of FB years ago (if we ignore my ig account), so why the heck would I "replace" it with yet another social network just because it mostly runs on space provided by Google and Apple? And why should the tech-illiterate boomers give up something they know and love? And why would things like community networks etc give up the platform where they've already gotten everyone relevant to be for coordinating events etc (who the hell would help them tech support everyone over to a new solution, that might not even be supported on their old phones where FB works just fine)?

    For many it simply isn't as easy as replacing FB, not even if they really wanted to; so the (should be) illegal activities must be stopped to prevent what they're doing to the public, because we can't just sit around and wait for FB to instead be out-competed on an open market.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 23
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    chasm said:
    svanstrom said:
    (I'm still trying to figure out how someone could be stupid enough to clear attempts like those. I mean, there must have been a meeting somewhere discussing it?)
    Bad news: there are at least 70 million people in the US alone that gullible and stupid.
    … and armed. 
    elijahgwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 23
    chasm said:
    svanstrom said:
    (I'm still trying to figure out how someone could be stupid enough to clear attempts like those. I mean, there must have been a meeting somewhere discussing it?)
    Bad news: there are at least 70 million people in the US alone that gullible and stupid.


    Ridiculous comment. Zuck actively censored conservative viewpoints; allowed Antifa and other leftist groups to call for violence; held fundraisers for Dems and pored money into battleground states he has no offices in - but you think he’s going to get support from conservatives? Let me guess: Russia, Russia, Russia! (debunked)

  • Reply 17 of 23
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,807member
    svanstrom said:
    mattinoz said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    I feel there is a solution to this, and it might lie in a collaboration between Apple and Google. 
    They wouldn't need to invent it they could just endorse and provide user storage for one of the open source open standard projects around.
    Still once they do they have pretty much dictated the winner of the standard. 
    Not really.

    Both Google and Apple have already tried in those areas, and at the level that we need for this there's just no traction.

    If you start your perspective from inside one of those open systems, you already being a happy user, then it makes sense how everything magically will just work if both Google and Apple put their weight behind a solution; but practically most people will still just stand there and be like "why do I need this?", and then move on with their lives. At most there will be a great deal of dead accounts if both Google and Apple force-include all their users.

    Personally I dropped out of FB years ago (if we ignore my ig account), so why the heck would I "replace" it with yet another social network just because it mostly runs on space provided by Google and Apple? And why should the tech-illiterate boomers give up something they know and love? And why would things like community networks etc give up the platform where they've already gotten everyone relevant to be for coordinating events etc (who the hell would help them tech support everyone over to a new solution, that might not even be supported on their old phones where FB works just fine)?

    For many it simply isn't as easy as replacing FB, not even if they really wanted to; so the (should be) illegal activities must be stopped to prevent what they're doing to the public, because we can't just sit around and wait for FB to instead be out-competed on an open market.
    I understand what you are saying. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., are all filling needs expressed by billions of humans. In essence these platforms are alternative media publishing and consumption outlets that scale from one user to billions of users. At a pure, abstract, and ideological level you could say that these platforms are the most extreme form of the democratization of social media. Unfortunately, humans generally do not deal well with purity, civility, or face it, democracy. One man’s tool is another man’s weapon. All of the failures of social media are directly traceable to failures of human nature, not technology.

    No amount of technology or engineering prowess is going to solve the problems related to social media. Likewise, no corporate entity is going to solve the problems created by its social media platforms when doing so is not in the best interest of their bottom line and profitability. It’s like asking firearms manufacturers to solve illegal firearms use. 

    Since these social media platforms cannot solve their own problems, and because the social media genie can never be stuffed back into the bottle in democratic societies, there must be some level of public governance and oversight of these platforms to ensure that they cannot inflict uncontrolled damage on the public. 
  • Reply 18 of 23
    Rayz2016 said:
    I feel there is a solution to this, and it might lie in a collaboration between Apple and Google. 
    Kinda like NSA putting Putin on the payroll.
  • Reply 19 of 23
    tobiantobian Posts: 116member
    paxman said:
    I actually like FB a lot. The essential idea of connecting people and all the thousands of special interest groups reminiscent of usenet are great. The tracking, the manipulation and selling of user data sucks big time. The former trumps the second for most people and for that reason regulation, oversight, transparency are all essential. FB probably should be turned into a public utility with no advertising and no user mining. A utility of the common good regulated for the common good, by public policy. I see no way a private company can self regulate. That never works.

    The manipulation doesn’t suck, it’s clearly dangerous to collective decision making. And fb turned to be used alot for this.

    I left facebook just 3 years ago, it took me that long to realise the toxicity of how it works. Mainly, you reflect posts with emotions (like, lol, angry.. etc) instead of pure agreement or disagreement. That leads to building up egos, disguise, like Ihatescreennames depicted. Facebook is ill and no nationalisation wouldfix this.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 23
    thrangthrang Posts: 892member
    Apple should never get into the social media business, even adhering to its strict privacy rules. There is too much involved in policing what users post to be worth it IMO

    The fact that they retreated from this years ago (Ping) may have been initially viewed as a failure, but ultimately was the smartest decision they could have made, whether salient or not.

    The built-in sharing tools and applications available (native and third party) seems to strike the right balance between encouraging private-bubble, self-maintained engagement without a requirement for public moderation or intervention. If you can't sufficiently communicate expressively with friends and family via phone, FaceTime, rich texting, sharing of Photos, Music, videos, and even your GarageBand creations (and more), you're perhaps caught up in the froth of "being someone" of elevated importance because you have a public place on the web. BFD.

    The problem with this ultimate democratization of giving an equal voice to everyone is that not everyone deserves to be heard.  There is no barrier to entry, no minimum skill or intelligence required to blather on.  Every numbnutz in the world is able pontificate to the point where the signal to noise ratio has obliterated most things of importance. One might argue that the demise of traditional news, the blatant lack of objectivity not practices by most, is correlated to the rise of the massive disturbance of social media.

    It's truly sad the amount of time some people spend endlessly perusing the artificial landscape of social media. While its original intentions are theoretically benevolent and even noble, the practical nature of it is largely the opposite.




    watto_cobra
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