Facebook is preparing an antitrust lawsuit against Apple over iOS 14’s privacy features

Facebook is preparing an antitrust lawsuit against Apple over iOS 14’s privacy features

A new report claims that Facebook, with the aid of outside legal counsel, is set to bring an antitrust lawsuit against Apple, arguing developers are being required to abide by App Store rules that Apple’s own apps don’t have to follow.

One of the main sticking points of Facebook’s lawsuit is apparently over Apple’s “App Tracking Transparency” feature that’s set to be introduced in an update to iOS 14. The feature essentially requires developers to ask for permission to track iOS users for ad targeting. It was originally supposed to launch with iOS 14 last year, but was delayed to give developers more time to comply.

The Information claims Facebook may not file a suit at all due to “internal resistance from some employees over its public campaign against Apple.” However, Facebook may move ahead and primarily focus on Apple’s rules for developers that require them to use Apple’s in-app payment service. Facebook argues that Apple’s rules make it harder to compete against Apple in areas such as gaming, messaging, and shopping.

Facebook and Apple have been engaged in a public feud over iOS 14’s new privacy rules, which Apple says are designed to stand up for users.

“Users should know when their data is being collected and shared across other apps and websites—and they should have the choice to allow that or not,” Apple said last year.

Facebook, meanwhile, sees it differently, and claims Apple’s new feature will “limit businesses’ ability to run personalized ads and reach their customers effectively.”

“Without personalized ads, Facebook data shows that the average small business advertiser stands to see a cut of over 60% in their sales for every dollar they spend,” Facebook said.

Apple this week confirmed that iOS 14’s new privacy features will be available in the next beta, with a planned rollout this spring. If a developer doesn’t comply with Apple’s new privacy rules, they risk their app being suspended or removed from the App Store. These same rules will also apply to Apple’s own apps.

In an earnings call on Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed Apple has an incentive to interfere with how Facebook and other apps work.

“Apple may say they’re doing this to help people but the moves clearly track their competitor interests” Zuckerberg said.

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Brandon Russell
Brandon Russell

Brandon's love of technology can be traced back to his childhood, when he would obsessively watch Back to the Future. Since then he's followed the industry and its many innovations, from handheld consoles to powerful smartphones. He's still waiting on a hoverboard.