Twitter is politely asking Apple users to let them track you in a new iOS 14.5 prompt
Apple’s App Tracking Transparency has rolled out to all iPhones with iOS 14.5. This feature forces developers to ask users for permission before they can track them. Earlier, apps could do this for free. And as expected, most users are opting out of letting apps track them. But this opting out of app tracking is bad news for apps that use the data to serve users ads, which is pretty much all of them, and they are now adding prompts in-app to ask users to enable tracking.
Twitter is the latest to join the list and has added a prompt for its iOS users.
This is a rather “low-key” attempt from Twitter to get users to allow them to track. Considering how Twitter highlighted Apple’s App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14.5 as a “potential risk”, this is surprising. As Twitter wrote in a letter to shareholders - “We continue to expect total revenue to grow faster than expenses in 2021, assuming the global pandemic continues to improve and that we see modest impact from the rollout of changes associated with iOS 14.5. How much faster will depend on various factors, including our execution on our direct response roadmap and macroeconomic factors”.
On the other hand, both Facebook and Instagram too a more aggressive approach to convince users that their use of “ad tracking is on the up-and-up” and even went as far as to vaguely threaten, as The Verge describes it, that enabling tracking is what is going to help keeping Facebook/Instagram “free of charge”.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc all rely on tracking users to support their ad business which is very lucrative - ad sales pay for free social networks like these, and customer data helps target those ads. A company like Apple, which sells hardware and subscription services, has nothing to worry about here but it is a source of concern for developers. With almost 96% of US users on Apple opting out of tracking services, a similar trend is being seen globally as well, and Google working on developing its own methods to block tracking on Android, developers have a lot to worry about.