Apple’s app tracking policy reportedly cost social media platforms nearly $10 billion - Shows what just your metadata, not messages, are worth to advertisers
Danie van der Merwe · news.movim.eu / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Monday, 1 November, 2021 - 10:56 · 1 minute
An investigation by The Financial Times found that Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube lost around $9.85 billion in revenue following Apple’s changes to its privacy practices. Last year, Apple announced the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy that requires apps to ask permission to track users’ data. The policy went into effect in April, barring apps from tracking users if they opt out.
Your metadata (even anonymised) is not the content of your posts or messages, but describes things about you and your behaviour whilst using the platform. So what you click to read, where you pause momentarily while scrolling, your location, what times of the day you are active, whether you use public transport or sit in the traffic in a vehicle, who you follow, how many followers you have, and lots more are all of use to advertisers to see where their campaigns work, and to help predict whether your behaviours may match their product or service.
So one strategy is to try to block some of that metadata at the phone level, or another is for you to try one of the alternative social media sites which do not engage in these practices such as Mastodon, PixelFed, Lemmy, or the many others on the Fediverse. The big centralised social media sites rely heavily on advertising revenue to keep themselves going if they are to offer you their services for "free".