Facebook’s Stolen Privacy Ecosystem

One more thought re: yesterday’s item on the WSJ’s “Inside Facebook’s $10 Billion Breakup With Advertisers” report, which mentioned small businesses whose customer acquisition costs have gone up — and in some cases, skyrocketed — because of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency’s effect on Facebook

I often turn to the analogy of Facebook’s profiting from exploiting users’ privacy — and complaining about Apple now giving users control being bad for business — to that of a pawnshop complaining about the police cracking down on a burglary spree that the pawnshop had profited from. There are small businesses that are built on Facebook, which depend upon Facebook’s surveillance-based ad targeting.

But arguing that it’s wrong, in any way, for Apple (and perhaps, soon Google) to give users the control to close these tracking loopholes because it’s going to hurt these small businesses built atop Facebook’s targeted ad capabilities is like arguing about the plight of small business that depend upon cheap goods purchased from the hypothetical pawnshop that’s been buying those goods from burglars. The whole thing has, up until Apple instituted App Tracking Transparency, been illegitimate, even if the small businesses did nothing wrong themselves.

Thursday, 24 February 2022