Apple’s Privacy Changes Cost Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat Nearly $10 Billion

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The App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy announced by Apple last year cost social media giants Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Snapchat losses amounting to $9.85 billion. 

In a move that had triggered outbursts from almost every major social platform, Apple’s new privacy policy required apps to seek user consent before tracking their data. The policy was put to effect in April, restricting apps from tracking users if they opt-out.

Apple, in a statement, informed app store developers that “unless you (app developers) receive permission from the user to enable tracking, the device’s advertising identifier value will be all zeros, and you may not track them.”

When the move was declared, Facebook had even resorted to full-page newspaper ads in December last year with the heading, “We are standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere.” This public slamming of policies was just another in a series of altercations between the two. 

Now, after reports revealing just how much the Apple move had cost social media platforms like Facebook and others, the outbursts seem understandable. Due to its size alone, Facebook was the worst hit of the lot, and the accusations were targeted. 

“Apple controls an entire ecosystem from device to app store and apps, and uses this power to harm developers and consumers, as well as large platforms like Facebook,” a Facebook representative said in a statement to CNBC. “We hope the DMA will also set boundaries for Apple,” read the statement, referring to the European Union’s Digital Markets Act. 

Eric Seufert, an advertising tech consultant, revealed the extent of the damage caused by this disruptive policy while speaking to The Financial Times. “Some of the most impacted platforms, but especially Facebook, have to rebuild their machinery from scratch as a result of ATT. I believe that it takes at least one year to build new infrastructure. New tools and frameworks need to be developed from scratch and tested extensively before being deployed to a high number of users,” the Financial Times quoted Seufert.

Snapchat lost a phenomenal amount of advertising revenue, too, thanks to its ad revenue losses brought on by Apple iOS’s new privacy practices. The drop in revenue had been significant for these leading apps. Lotame, a data collection company specializing in ad tech, pegged the slide to be as high as 12 percent.  The iOS 14.5 policy development forced advertisers to spend their ad money elsewhere, knowing that their investments wouldn’t bring in the same results anymore until these leading platforms made changes to how their ads worked with users. 

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