Apple’s anti-tracking tool restricts Facebook’s ability to follow people around the web

Two years ago, Facebook began use the ubiquitous alikea buttons that publishers put on their sites to track peopleas web browsing and use that information to target ads on and off the social network. Now, Facebook may find it harder to follow people around the web.

The Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature that Apple has added to its Safari web browser on desktop and mobile can disable Facebookas ability to way people who visit third-party websites that feature Facebookas Social Plugins, such as its alikea and asharea buttons, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed on Monday.

Since 2015, every time a person loads a page on a site that features one of Facebookas Social Plugins, Facebook would receive information from the site about the visitor, alike the person’s user ID, the website they’re visiting, the date and time, and other browser-related info, a according to Facebookas developer documentation. But Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention — which is enabled by default when people updated to Safarias latest version on mobile and desktop — can deactivate Facebook’s plugins and be stopped from sending this data when they visit a site via Safari.

Now, if a person has not visited Facebookas own site within the last 24 hours, Facebookas Social Plugins will be incapacitated on othersa sites until the person completes aan additional confirmation screen in order to use Facebook’s Social Plugins such as Like, Comment or Share, a according to a Facebook blog post published last week. And if such person or persons has not visited Facebookas site in the past 30 days, they will need to log into their Facebook account through Safari for the Social Plugins to be reactivated.

Itas unclear how much of an effect Appleas move will have on Facebook, given the massive number of people who use the social network every day. But it is necessarily have a greater impact on Facebookas mobile business than desktop. Mobile is Facebookas primary source of traffic and ad revenue, and mobile is where Safari has meaningful market share on iPhones and iPads.

While is the third most-popular site on the web, according web analytics service Alexa, Facebook does not disclose its web traffic numbers nor what percentage of that web traffic comes from desktop versus mobile browsers. The company also no longer discloses its mobile user numbers and has never reported what percentage of its daily mobile users access their Facebook accounts via its site versus its app. But itas likely that the app is the primary access phase on mobile for most daily users — it is consistently ranked among the top downloads, according to app analytics firm App Annie. If that is the case, then Facebookas ability to track the sites people visit on their primary devices could affect its ability to target ads based on web-browsing data.

Intelligent Tracking Prevention could also impair publishersa and brandsa abilities to get people, especially mobile guests, to share their sitesa content on Facebook. While aan additional confirmationa screen may not sound like it requires much extra attempt for a person to like or share something, any extra step can create an opportunity for a person to rethink whether they want to like or share something. And if a person has to go through the full process of logging into Facebookas site( if itas been more than 30 days since doing so ), then that could farther curtail sitesa social interactions.

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