Tech

Android is getting privacy changes similar to the iPhone ones that cost Facebook billions

Business Insider US

Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.
Photo by Liu Jie/Xinhua via Getty
  • Google just announced plans to change how apps like Facebook can track Android phone users.
  • It's similar to a change Apple made last year to iPhone, which stops apps from tracking you across apps.
  • Facebook said it stands to lose $10 billion this year due to the change Apple made to the iPhone.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

In April 2021, Apple enabled iPhone users to choose which apps are allowed to track their behaviour across other apps. As a result, the vast majority of users opted out.

Now, Google is following Apple's lead by introducing privacy changes to ad tracking on Android.

"Today, we're announcing a multi-year initiative...with the goal of introducing new, more private advertising solutions," Android product management VP Anthony Chavez wrote in a blog post published on Wednesday.

The privacy changes to Android, like Apple, "will limit sharing of user data with third parties and operate without cross-app identifiers," Chavez said.

The changes aren't intended to go into place fully for "at least two years," he said, while Google works with partners to implement it. 

When it does go into effect, it's likely to have a major impact on the bottom line of ad-based businesses like Facebook's parent company Meta. After Apple made the change, early reports showed that over 95% of iPhone users who had downloaded the update were opting out of ad tracking.

Meta said it stands to lose $10 billion this year due to the small but impactful change made by Apple.

That's because Meta's primary source of revenue is its advertising business, which is built on the massive database of user information it has from operating some of the world's largest social platforms: Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

Beyond ad tracking on smartphones, Meta is facing other major challenges to its bottom line: Facebook reported its first-ever decrease in users this past quarter, and Meta's stock took a major hit as a result — it dropped by nearly $100 per share in one day, effectively wiping out $230 billion in market value.

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