The iPhone pop-up that Facebook dreads is out, and it is going to hurt them

Originally published at: The iPhone pop-up that Facebook dreads is out, and it is going to hurt them | Boing Boing


If your business is dependent on unwitting online surveillance of your users, you should go out of business


They are still using dark patterns like the short and simple “Allow” and long and complex “Ask App not to Track”


“Ask App not to Track” doesn’t seem very definite. It needs a “Tell it again, firmly!” button.


If they are on FB it’s a given they do not care.

Delete FB.


dear devs, if this is how you make your money, YOU ARE NOT MAKING GOOD PRODUCTS. Try re-thinking your life. delete FB and delete surveillance capitalism.


Yeah, I don’t really get it. What does “ask” actually mean here?

Why isn’t it simply “Block app from tracking?”

I get that they may not be able to stay ahead of everything FB might do to try and track its users, so maybe they don’t want to use a definite verb, but what does “ask” actually mean?


Do they have the app in a cage or not? If not, iOS trying to deal with FB app:


I work for one of these companies, and I agree. :grimacing:

Our revenue is expected to take a 20-30% hit in the short term. However, I’m honestly fine with that. It’s forcing us to adapt to other business models, that’s all. The whole industry has known this is coming for a long time, so we’ve had time to build up other revenue streams. Any businesses claiming failure in this are just whining. We all had time to prepare for this shift and I’m glad Apple is forcing it onto this toxic side of the business.


If one is fast enough clicking on “Reader View” (Ctrl+Alt+R) on firefox (“Is there an unread view?”) here is today’s New York Times interview on this issue (Mike Isaac and Jack Nicas answering interview questions (“So who are they?” …uhm, beats me)) “When Elephants fight tis the grass which suffers”

So who’s right: Apple or Facebook?

Each company has a point, and each one is also hypocritical.

Facebook is right that billions of people have been able to get access to social networks, email, news and entertainment because they’re paid for by ads. The company’s message is that this system needs data on us to advertise effectively and efficiently.

And Apple is right that digital advertising largely operates without people’s true consent or knowledge.

Apple’s message seems simpler.

That’s true. Apple’s view is that it’s simply giving people a choice of whether to be tracked across apps or not. Facebook’s argument to the public is more complex — that they have to be tracked for the internet to work, and that people don’t know what’s good for them.

Wait, let’s go back to the hypocrisy part.


Yes, they do. If you say “don’t track” on this, the app is blocked from using the APIs that gets your device ID for tracking purposes. There is no way around it, and iOS is extremely secure in this way.

The wording in the dialog is odd, and I don’t know why Apple chose that. The application does not control that wording. We can supply a small “reason” string for why we claim we need to track you, but the rest of the dialog is iOS-controlled. The “reason” will always be marketing-speak, of course. “To enhance your experience” or whatever.

Incidentally, companies have been AB testing these pop ups for months, to come up with the right timing and UX flows to maximize the number of people who will click “Track me”. However bad you think ad-based gaming is, trust me, it’s worse.


Facebook exists for one reason: to make money selling targeted advertising.

How are they so bad at it? Dilators from Wish; Chinese “fuel filters” one hole away from being an undocumented suppressor; a seemingly well built but stupid expensive plane that sharpens pencils; interesting garments from companies I’ve never heard of that always say they are “closing their store”, but seem to never stop advertising, and either too expensive or too cheap for you to gamble on actually liking it or not, etc etc. Seriously, most of it is Chinese knock off stuff. Which is ok, I guess, but a bit odd.


On iOS, far more than on any other platform, yes, they do; not only does the app run in a fairly restrictive sandbox, it can’t be installed in the first place if Apple decides it violates their rules. If Facebook seeks a hack to continue with their tracking, it’s both technically non-trivial and carries a real risk that Apple will pull their app. That’s why they’re reacting to this so much more strongly than any previous “please don’t track me” initiative, or even government attempts to regulate them.

(There is some cognitive dissonance here for Slashdot types, because it’s the first time anyone has seriously defied Facebook’s bullshit, but it also vindicates Apple’s exact arguments for iOS not being “open”)

(Course, it’s not because Apple are nice people; it’s because Apple doesn’t make any money from ads, and their enemies don’t make money from anything else)

Short of blocking the Facebook app from accessing the internet at all, though, there is a limit to how much Apple can enforce their rules. Facebook have wormed their way around such rules before, and had apps blocked on iOS because of it. But the beauty of this latest tactic is that it doesn’t stop them doing their business, it just makes them admit what their business is. Even if they get their anti-trust action, the only way they can claim harm is to admit that they depend on tricking users.


No good guys in this battle of the monopolists, but I’m rooting for Apple in this case. Anything that hastens the demise of Facebook and it’s toxic engagement-based business model is a good thing.




There’s an element of bullshit in that, but even if we take it at face value, I suspect the value of “targeted” ads over the traditional approach is overstated. Folks at Facebook might believe it’s a big deal, but what if they’re just high on their own supply after years of hyping this as the reason they’re better than Yellow Pages?

Suppose Facebook remembered literally nothing about you. It wouldn’t restrict the quantity of ads they could show you, and it wouldn’t mean they had to serve ads completely at random. They could still match the ad to the content, with car ads next to car posts etc. And they’d still have a ton of eyeballs to throw the ads at. This is all even more true for Google. It’s the size of the audience that counts.


try the Delete App button instead


On my first phone, that wasn’t even possible. I never installed it, never used it, but the trace from ADB showed that every night it contacted the mothership, sending who-knows-what. (Android 2.3, so probably quite a bit.)


I suspect what Facebook is most worried about is that businesses are going to find that the ROI on highly targeted ads is no better, or even worse than cheaper, less targeted advertising.

The online ad market depends a lot of businesses either being unwilling or unable to evaluate the value of targeted ads. If Apple forces the issue, and businesses don’t see an impact in sales or market share, they’re going to start wondering whether aren’t just better off buying ads at a lower cost with other online outlets, or even doing crazy things like moving money into radio or print.


could you point me to info on how to set that up?