Facebook considers telling users enabling tracking keeps app 'free of charge'

Posted:
in iOS
Facebook is considering adding new screens for both its main app and Instagram, to educate users that enabling tracking under Apple's App Tracking Transparency policy will "help keep" the apps free to use.




Following the introduction of App Tracking Transparency as part of iOS 14.5, apps have been working to incorporate the system-level prompt request. With it being in some advertising-focused apps best interest to convince users to continue allowing the app to track their device's IDFA tag for marketing purposes, it seems that Facebook is doing what it can to encourage users to do so.

Example notifications spotted by researcher Ashkan Soltani on Saturday as part of the social network's explanation of rule updates show what Facebook is considering presenting to users, reports The Verge. The notices, which are depicted in both the Facebook app and Instagram, show the same text, and form part of a notification designed to be shown before Apple's system-level ATT prompt.

And it begins. @Facebook / @Instagram explore additional scare tactics to combat @Apple iOS14 #ATT privacy changes.

"Help keep Facebook free of charge" pic.twitter.com/mOB9WJpz9A

-- ashkan soltani (@ashk4n)


The text of the notifications explains the version of iOS "requires us to ask for permission to track some data from this device to improve your ads. Learn how we limit the use of this information if you don't turn on this setting," the screen continues while linking to a support page.

The screen carries on by stating "We use information about your activity received from other apps and websites to: Show you ads that are personalized, Help keep Facebook free of charge, [and] Support businesses that rely on ads to reach their customers." The screen then concludes with a "Continue" button, presumably set up to summon the ATT permission dialog.

The main problem with the notification as shown in the image is the use of the phrase "Help keep Facebook free of charge," as it insinuates that Facebook could be forced to charge for access down the line. An earlier iteration of Facebook's notification screen does not include the "free of charge" line at all.

Despite the issue, it seems that Facebook's screen follows all of Apple's Human Interface Guidelines regarding the tracking request screen.

Apple does allow the pre-alert screen to be used to convince users to turn it on, but forbids it from being used to "withhold functionality or content," nor to offer outright incentives. Facebook's notification screen goes along with Apple's ruleset, including the use of a single button marked "Continue" to move the user on to the prompt.

It is unclear if Facebook is actually using the notification as presented to its users, but the level of work that went into the screen, as well as adhering to Apple's guidelines, makes it seem likely to be used at some point.

In a note to advertisers on April 29, Facebook detailed the impact of ATT to its clients, including the restricted availability of ad targeting and metrics tools, as well as a possible impact on audience engagement.

For months before ATT's arrival, Facebook waged war with Apple over its introduction, including creating an advertising campaign in newspapers against the move. However, by March 18, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg seemingly toned down the complaints, suggesting it may even be beneficial to the social network after all.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 49
    XedXed Posts: 800member
    I beg for FB (and Instagram) to start charging users a fee. Let's bring a swifter end to them abusing the trust of their users.
    kingofsomewherehotnapoleon_phoneapartbaconstangmarsorryfred1frantiseklolliverpulseimagesllamachadbag
  • Reply 2 of 49
    heli0sheli0s Posts: 35member
    I joined Facebook in 2006, back when it was a completely different experience. Finally left all of their platforms in 2020 and never looked back. My mental health has been significantly better since.
    kingofsomewherehotDAalsethioniclebaconstangmarsorryInspiredCodelolliverbakerzdoseniqatedomacplusplus
  • Reply 3 of 49
    Nikon8Nikon8 Posts: 15member
    heli0s said:
    I joined Facebook in 2006, back when it was a completely different experience. Finally left all of their platforms in 2020 and never looked back. My mental health has been significantly better since.
    Yup.  Getting out really helps your health.  
    kingofsomewherehotioniclelolliverBeatsdigitolspock1234applguyCluntBaby92
  • Reply 4 of 49
    I enjoyed Facebook back in 2008. It was clean and simple. Filled with nothing but life’s milestones; marriage, graduation, birth, etc. feed was just family and friends in chronological order. 

    Then they allowed gifs, links, videos. Algorithms served what Facebook wanted you to see. Became a modern day MySpace. 

    I keep in touch now with a blog and email newsletters.
    lolliverelijahgBeatswilliamlondon
  • Reply 5 of 49
    a hawkinsa hawkins Posts: 20member
    heli0s said:
    I joined Facebook in 2006, back when it was a completely different experience. Finally left all of their platforms in 2020 and never looked back. My mental health has been significantly better since.
    I envy you to be able to do that. Facebook is majority platform in my country and is the major channel to promote and sell things. So if I leave this platform it means the end of my income. Also every friends are on Facebook and even don't communicate via other platform. So unless you move to nowhere and do some agriculture there is no escape (and even so you may even have to use Facebook to find fertiliser vendor).
    lolliver
  • Reply 6 of 49
    XedXed Posts: 800member
    a hawkins said:
    heli0s said:
    I joined Facebook in 2006, back when it was a completely different experience. Finally left all of their platforms in 2020 and never looked back. My mental health has been significantly better since.
    I envy you to be able to do that. Facebook is majority platform in my country and is the major channel to promote and sell things. So if I leave this platform it means the end of my income. Also every friends are on Facebook and even don't communicate via other platform. So unless you move to nowhere and do some agriculture there is no escape (and even so you may even have to use Facebook to find fertiliser vendor).
    They do have a pretty good lock in for their Eloi. I dropped it back in 2018–19. It was definitely tough at first, but things are better without it, although I have found that selling stuff locally on Craig's List isn't great so the wife having FB Marketplace has been useful.
  • Reply 7 of 49
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,093member
    This is one of several innovative approaches FaceBook could take to fight Apple. (I'm not on FaceBook's side, but I'm trying to anticipate their response options.)

    I think my cellular provider provides "unlimited data," but after a certain threshold the data is throttled, which is essentially two levels of service. One level of service is for people who play nicely, and the other is for the heavy users who "abuse" the unlimited Internet. (It's not really unlimited Internet if it's throttled, I would suggest.)

    FaceBook could take a lesson from that and, like my cellular company, provide two levels of service. One is for people who "play nicely" by allowing tracking, and the other is for people who don't. One option FaceBook could implement fairly easily is lower latency for people who allow tracking. Another option it has is to require its users to be more carefully vetted if they don't want to allow app tracking (i.e., provide FaceBook with more personal information.) After all, FaceBook knows exactly who you are, even if you don't allow tracking, because you are still logging into their servers with your ID. So FaceBook has the upper hand in this fight.

    I don't think Apple has a leg to stand on if FaceBook puts pressure like this on its users, especially if the lobbying with the user is done entirely outside of iOS.
  • Reply 8 of 49
    XedXed Posts: 800member
    I think my cellular provider provides "unlimited data," but after a certain threshold the data is throttled, which is essentially two levels of service. One level of service is for people who play nicely, and the other is for the heavy users who "abuse" the unlimited Internet. (It's not really unlimited Internet if it's throttled, I would suggest.)
    Unlimited has many definitions. You are not limited to the time of day or days in which you can use it, and you're not limited to the amount of total data that can be used, but there are clear limitations on locations of towers, the performance of towers, the performance of your device, the number of users on a tower at once that can bring even the fastest speeds down to a 2G crawl, and, of course, after what amount of data used do they throttle your speed.
    baconstang
  • Reply 9 of 49
    Apple_BarApple_Bar Posts: 97member
    heli0s said:
    I joined Facebook in 2006, back when it was a completely different experience. Finally left all of their platforms in 2020 and never looked back. My mental health has been significantly better since.
    14 years that you will never get back. I did 6 months of FB back in college and I was done with it. I mean I want to know that my family and friends are doing well but god I don't need to know what color is their  s**t after every meal. TMI
    baconstangqwerty52mac daddy zeeMacProdewmejony0
  • Reply 10 of 49
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,485member
    Nikon8 said:
    heli0s said:
    I joined Facebook in 2006, back when it was a completely different experience. Finally left all of their platforms in 2020 and never looked back. My mental health has been significantly better since.
    Yup.  Getting out really helps your health.  
    I've tried all sorts of Social Media. Killing FB, Twitter and Reddit was the best thing I could do though. I'm still active on a few platforms, but those three especially were just cesspools. 
    edited May 2 CluntBaby92
  • Reply 11 of 49
    ppietrappietra Posts: 239member
    Did anyone notice how they deceitfully play with words?
    First they say they are tracking some Data - avoiding saying they are tracking people!
    Then they try to seed confusion by saying "how we limit the use of this information if you don't turn on this setting", like if people choose the negative option ("not to track") Facebook will get information.
    baconstanglolliverelijahgmacseekerAndy.Hardwake
  • Reply 12 of 49
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 877member
    Those fuckers just aren’t letting it go. Sounds like the valuation of the company relies too heavily on harvesting information. 
    lolliverelijahgwilliamlondonCluntBaby92
  • Reply 13 of 49
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,593member
    Whether customers are being charged in consciously in currency or unconsciously in private data, they’re still being charged. Surely the US has laws against confidence trickery?
    CluntBaby92
  • Reply 14 of 49
    patchythepiratepatchythepirate Posts: 1,090member
    I’ll go ahead and call their bluff lol
    CluntBaby92
  • Reply 15 of 49
    iadlibiadlib Posts: 41member
    Facebook made billions in profit last year and Zuck is worth 118 billion. They’re fine. Maybe they can invest in features users want instead of ads for once
    lolliverMacProCluntBaby92
  • Reply 16 of 49
    tommikeletommikele Posts: 450member
    Who would pay for that crap?

    Call their bluff and watch the stock price crash. 
    lolliverbaconstangAndy.HardwakeCluntBaby92
  • Reply 17 of 49
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,511member
    The moment FB charges users to use its platform is the day its downhill trajectory begins.  Users are the most cheapest people around and expect everything for free.  They don't understand that FB is not "free".  They complain their privacy is at stake but refuse to acknowledge that "free" means giving up that info to continue using Facebook for "free". 

    Something has to give.  FB better start figuring out a plan B.
    DogpersonCluntBaby92
  • Reply 18 of 49
    frantisekfrantisek Posts: 730member
    Xed said:
    I beg for FB (and Instagram) to start charging users a fee. Let's bring a swifter end to them abusing the trust of their users.
    It also shows about us more If it is free we are willing to close both eyes. We wanna things free. So if someone offers free with hidden costs we jump in in masses. No talking for everyone of course.

    But I confess honestly that I have ever paid for accounting app and renting Eshop solution only. Otherwise I paid for software only with HW and that is only OS.
    I forgot some little custom web programing. Otherwise only free apps or those free in deals.
  • Reply 19 of 49
    FoodLoverFoodLover Posts: 48member
    ppietra said:
    Did anyone notice how they deceitfully play with words?
    First they say they are tracking some Data - avoiding saying they are tracking people!
    Then they try to seed confusion by saying "how we limit the use of this information if you don't turn on this setting", like if people choose the negative option ("not to track") Facebook will get information.

    Well, I have a Galaxy Phone and no Facebook. So FB cannot track where I am. It can just collect data on the owner.

    But when I am with iPhone users within the same network, all iPhone users are constantly sharing my location with Apple. Apple knows exactly who is in the same location with whom, independent of whether the others have an iPhone or not.

     https://www.tcd.ie/news_events/articles/new-study-raises-fresh-privacy-concerns-about-apple-and-google-mobile-phones/

     Apple not only collects data about handset activity, but also about handsets nearby. When you use WiFi, the WiFi MAC addresses of other devices on the network are sent to Apple.  When the location toggle is enabled on the handset then the precise GPS location is also included. The WiFi MAC address identifies a device on a WiFi network and so, for example, uniquely identifies your home router, cafe hotspot or office network.  That means Apple can potentially track which people you are near to, as well as when and where. That’s very concerning.

    Even Google doesn’t do this. This is scaring. But Apple fans always believe Apple is the good guy. Read the complete study. Apple and Google collect both data, but what Apple does, does nobody else.

    elijahg
  • Reply 20 of 49
    Too be honest I don’t understand why Facebook just don’t add a “In order to use this app you need to agree to accept advertising”. The majority of people would press accept without a second thought. The way they do it now is that they educate users that they are actually SPENDING money by using Facebook. This will raise awareness where Facebook is making its money from, adds. 
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