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What is the impact of Apple’s new ITP policies on journalism? (Includes interview)

The move by Apple has been welcomed by data privacy campaigners, but concerns have been raised by journalists and companies depended upon advertising revenue, such as Facebook. The update comes with iOS 14 and it, according to Forbes, “takes Apple’s approach one step further with major changes to prevent tracking and put people in control over their own data.”

Apple’s Intelligence Tracking Prevention (ITP) affects the ability to reach more than 53 percent of the mobile audience, according to information produced by Healthline Media and passed on to Digital Journal. The expansion of ITP from Safari to Firefox and Chrome browsers and will influence how you target people and impact the clicks and views a journalist will receive to any one article.

The impact can be assessed in terms of the 69 percent decrease that was driven exclusively by Safari when they started targeting line items earlier (a figure also based on Healthline Media data). Apple in March 2020 effectively banned third-party cookie tracking on its Safari browsers and severely limited other website cookies that also have been employed to gather cross-website domain data on users.

What are the changes?

There are three new policies with the implementation of the ITP:

Apps must be transparent about their app’s data collection practices.
Developers must ask users for permissions to track them across third party apps and websites through its new App Tracking Transparency Framework.
Adoption of a new attribution model, SKAdNetwork (SKAN) API for performance measurement.

This means that ITP stands to be a big threat to digital publishers, having a greater impact than GDPR and other governmental digital privacy laws.

Implications of iOS 14’s IDFA opt-in

An additional controversial move by Apple is with the launch of the company’s new operating system and the iOS 14’s IDFA opt-in, anti-tracking component.

According to Apple: “On iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and tvOS 14, apps will be required to receive user permission to track users across apps or websites owned by other companies, or to access the device’s advertising identifier.”

Facebook has come out strongly against the update, which will disable the IDFA, a unique identifier used by advertisers to track a mobile consumer’s behavior (or fraudulent bot’s behavior) across apps. This change will alter how the advertising industry operates.

Facebook’s statement on the matter reads: “We know this may severely impact publishers’ ability to monetize through Audience Network on iOS 14, and, despite our best efforts, may render Audience Network so ineffective on iOS 14 that it may not make sense to offer it on iOS14 in the future.”

To discover more, Digital Journal caught up with Luke Taylor, COO & founder at advertising technology company TrafficGuard, a marketing technology veteran. His primary concern is with advertisement fraud in relation to the change.

Taylor explains: “Apple recognizes the need for device identification in the prevention of fraudulent activity by cybercriminals, like payment fraud. However, they seem to have underestimated ad fraud, which is much easier to commit and more costly to businesses. Obviously, Apple has lots going on with the launch of new hardware and software, impacted by COVID. Let’s hope that once they are done, they can give this the time it deserves.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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