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Facebook asking users for permission on personalized ads ahead of Apple privacy update

Facebook asking users for permission on personalized ads ahead of Apple privacy update
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Facebook is asking users globally for permission to use their data for personalized ads ahead of an Apple update that will force the social media giant to get their consent. 

Facebook said Monday that it started testing prompts asking for permission from users on its platform and Instagram on Apple’s iOS. 

Facebook’s notifications ask users if they want to allow the app to track their activity to “support businesses that rely on ads to reach customers,” further building on the company's push to cast Apple’s privacy feature update as anti-small business. 

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The move comes as Apple plans to launch an App Tracking Transparency feature in early spring. The feature will require apps to ask users to opt in before allowing them to be tracked across different websites, limiting the reach of targeted ads. If a user declines, a platform such as Facebook would no longer be able to target ads at users based on their searches across other websites. 

Facebook said in a blog post in December that it disagreed with Apple’s planned privacy update, and at the same time the social media giant launched an ad campaign branding it as bad for small businesses that rely on targeted ads. 

In an updated blog post Monday, Facebook said its notifications will help users make a "more informed decision" than the messages Apple plans to launch in the coming months. 

“Apple’s new prompt suggests there is a tradeoff between personalized advertising and privacy; when in fact, we can and do provide both. The Apple prompt also provides no context about the benefits of personalized ads,” Facebook said in the post. 

Apple’s notification will simply ask users to choose “allow tracking” or “ask app not to track.” 

If users see Facebook’s new prompt during the testing, they will also see Apple’s when it is released, according to the social media platform. 

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Apple’s planned privacy update has become a sore point between the Silicon Valley giants. 

Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergBipartisan attorneys general urge Facebook to scrap planned Instagram for kids Hillicon Valley: Broadband companies funded fake net neutrality comments, investigation finds | Twitter rolls out tip feature | Google to adopt 'hybrid work week' Oversight Board achieving what government cannot MORE ramped up criticism of the feature on a call with investors about quarterly earnings last week, warning it could impact Facebook’s business. 

Apple CEO Tim Cook, meanwhile, has dismissed Facebook’s criticism. 

“If a business is built on misleading users, on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all, then it does not deserve our praise. It deserves reform,” he said at a data protection conference last week without naming Facebook.