News Publishers Join Facebook in Worry Over iOS 14 Anti-Tracking Feature

Stack of newspapers

Many news publishers are joining Facebook in worrying about an iOS 14 anti-tracking feature that could affect advertising (via WSJ).

iOS 14 Anti-Tracking

On Wednesday, Facebook shared a blog post in which it revealed that advertising revenue generated through its Audience Network tool could drop to 50% because of iOS 14. The company also met with mobile game developers who shared concerns. Now news publishers are speaking out. Martin Clarke, publisher of DMG Media:

When every publisher is fighting for every last advertising cent, this couldn’t come at a worse time. This seems aggressively aimed at getting people to opt out. For Apple to interject itself like this into our relationship with our readers is outrageous.

Mark Wagman, managing director at Ascential PLC-owned marketing consulting firm MediaLink:

You’re almost scaring the consumer into saying, ‘Wait a minute. Am I comfortable with this?

So what’s all the fuss about?

In iOS 14 Apple has revamped its privacy setting called Limit Ad Tracking. Before iOS 14, users had to opt-in by turning this toggle on. When that happens, the device’s advertising identifier becomes a bunch of zeroes, making targeted advertising less effective (it has since been deprecated).

In iOS 14 the redesigned toggle is called Allow Apps to Request to Track. When this setting is on, apps have to ask the user to consent to be tracked. When it’s turned off, apps can’t ask because tracking is off by default.

Publishers are worried because this fall they will require user consent, or “scaring” them as Mr. Wagman frames it. Note that the only thing that changed about the setting is a pop-up window requiring the user to tap OK if they want to be tracked. People will still see ads but they won’t be shown to you based on your personal information. The setting is not an ad-blocker.

2 thoughts on “News Publishers Join Facebook in Worry Over iOS 14 Anti-Tracking Feature

  • Dear advertisers and news site owners,
    You are not entitled to being able to track us or gather data about us any more than TV stations are entitled to install cameras in our homes to see if our eyeballs are looking at the screen or if we stay in the room when ads are playing. If I walked into a retail store to look around and someone followed me with a pen and paper jotting down everything I looked at, touched, tried on and so on, then looked over my shoulder to be able to jot down my name and address so they could then package that gathered data and either sell it to a third party, or use it to market stuff to me, I’d elbow them in the face or call the cops.
    This is what you’re saying you believe you have the right to do. Stop it.

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