Smartphone behemoth Apple and social media giant Facebook have long been frenemies. Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs once mentored Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. More recently, however, the tech titans have been squabbling a lot. Their quarrel is about to spill over into your phone. Apple will soon send an “app-tracking transparency” software update that will give iPhone users more control over their own privacy. When you access an app, a question will pop up: “Facebook would like to track you across the internet and gather your personal data, which it wants to sell for profit. Do you wish to grant it permission to do that?” You have two options: “Allow” or “Ask not to track”.

I use a MacBook Pro laptop and iMac desktop. A click on Safari browser’s shield-like icon tells me who the website I am accessing is trying to pass my data to. When I accessed today, I was told it had prevented 32 websites from tracking me, including Facebook and Google. Facebook fears that the language Apple is using to prevent tracking on iMacs will also be used to stop tracking on iPhones and most people will just say “No” or “Ask not to track”.

Facebook, which earns almost all of its revenues from selling targeted ads, sees Apple’s move as an existential threat to its business model. Zuckerberg was so angry when he first heard that the iPhone maker would roll out app trackers to prevent his firm from extracting data that he reportedly told his team that “we need to inflict pain” on Apple.

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