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Apple rebuffs Facebook criticism, says iOS anti-tracking features are about ’standing up for our users’

After a barrage of criticism from Facebook today, Apple is yet again doubling down on its forthcoming App Tracking Transparency feature. The feature will launch to users in 2021, and Apple says it “does not require Facebook to change its approach to tracking users.”

In a statement to 9to5Mac, Apple says that the feature simply requires companies like Facebook to “give users a choice” in regards to tracking. The feature, Apple explains, is “a simple matter of standing up for our users.”

The statement in full:

“We believe that this is a simple matter of standing up for our users. Users should know when their data is being collected and shared across other apps and websites — and they should have the choice to allow that or not. App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14 does not require Facebook to change its approach to tracking users and creating targeted advertising, it simply requires they give users a choice.”

Furthermore, Apple emphasizes that the new tracking control features apply to all developers equally, including Apple itself. The company continues to point out that advertising is still possible even with the new App Tracking Transparency feature, with the purpose being to give users more control over their data by requiring explicit consent.

Once available in 2021, the App Tracking Transparency feature will be accessible by opening the Settings app, then looking for the Privacy menu, and looking for the Tracking section. Here, users will be able to see which apps have required permission to track them and revoke or grant permission when necessary.

Users will also see a pop-up message when they open an application for the first time after this feature has rolled out. Users will see the notification for new apps as well as ones that they already have on their devices. This pop-up is where companies like Facebook can explain to users why they should enable tracking.

Finally, Apple points out that if it is made aware of an application that violates App Store guidelines, including in regards to privacy and tracking, the developer will be required to address the issue or else have their app removed.

Apple also recently rolled out new App Privacy labels on the App Store, which require developers to disclose to users what data they collect and how it is used.

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