Later in the thread Gurevich links to this piece about the negative business effects of Apple’s app tracking transparency in The Harvard Business Review referring to it as a “less biased source”. As it turns out, one of the authors wrote a book on “freemium economics” which… blargh. The other–oh, this is a weird coincidence–used to work in Facebook’s marketing science research group. How weird is that? So weird.
“If you don’t believe these people who are neck deep in selling peoples’ privacy, maybe you’ll believe these other people who are neck deep in selling peoples’ privacy.”
The difference between Apple and Meta is, Apple never promised businesses huge rewards by protecting peoples’ privacy. It said “Yeah, if you’re profiting from peoples’ privacy, we don’t care if you go out of business.”
Apple is certainly a company, yes, and it does the kind of things large competitive companies do in capitalist societies, many of which are super gross. By way of contrast, Meta is a garbage company that repeatedly lies about metrics, allows people to sell guns on its pages in violation of its own policies but pulls any and all references to abortion pills and happily sends people down uncritical rabbit holes of conspiracy theories and extreme political opinion. Meta is perfectly happy if your Uncle Bob starts to believe the moon landing was faked by secret Kennedy clones operating from that taco truck on the corner as long as he looks at a few more ads and gives them all his tracking information for the last six months.
The Macalope always wonders how valuable the private information of a group of increasingly radicalized loons is but apparently our entire economy is based on it because Apple just caused a recession.
It’s certainly possible as Gurevich suggests that once it destroys the rest of the tracking-based advertising economy, Apple is planning on rolling out its own, as it will be the only one left with that information. It’s already playing to its own hand with App Store search, letting app makers plop their apps at the top of searches for competing apps. This is certainly what a lot of people in the advertising business think is going to happen and the Macalope’s not so naive as to think it’s out of the question.
If that does happen, however, it would be a severe betrayal of Apple’s image and its relationship with its customers.
Ultimately, the Macalope believes “This will harm small businesses” is largely a dodge as this comes straight from Meta’s marketing and framing of this change. The company these people are really worried about is Meta. But even if you take it at face value, it’s just short for “This will harm small businesses that rely on targeted advertising to survive”. The Macalope’s response to that is: