Did Facebook mount a disinformation campaign against Apple? | Digital Trends Spanish


Changes to the iOS operating system have sparked an uphill battle between Apple and Facebook, with the two tech giants launching strong cross-accusations.

Apple will incorporate a function that will give users greater ability to decide what data they share in the applications they download on their devices, including social networks.

The idea is for consumers to decide if they want companies to track their data and use it for personalized advertising.

At first glance, this is a laudable decision, one that seeks to protect the privacy of owners of iPhone phones or iPad tablets.

Facebook, however, maintains that the decision will affect the business of millions of small businesses, which advertise through its platform and that now will not be able to reach their customers.

Wrong data


In late December 2020, Facebook placed full page ads on The New York Times, Wall street journal Y Washington Post, three of the major American newspapers, in which he accused Apple of harming small businesses.

Among Facebook’s arguments were that:

  • On average, small businesses could see more than 60 percent cut in sales for every dollar they spend.
  • 44 percent of small and medium-sized businesses started or increased the use of personalized ads on social media during the pandemic.

However, two researchers published an extensive article in Harvard Business Review, in which they assured that the data used by Facebook was part of a “disinformation” campaign.

According to the teachers of marketing Bart de Langhe and Stefano Puntoni, claiming that Apple’s measures will hurt the return on advertising investment (ROAS) of small businesses, is risky.

They claim that by targeting users who are expected to spend a lot of money on a product, the result is likely to be successful. “It would be a mistake to conclude that these customers spent more due to personalized ads,” they say.

In addition, they maintain that the data of 60 percent is high, since studies that analyze the absence of advertising “tend to reveal much smaller differences.”

Another error they warn is that “Facebook does not report anything about the two types of campaigns I was comparing.”

But they also claim that Facebook “incorrectly” used a Deloitte study to ensure that 44 percent of small businesses turned to online advertising during the pandemic.

“The industry with the largest increase was Telecom & Technology, but the increase was only 34 percent. Other industries had smaller increases. Professional services companies, for example, had an increase of just 17 percent. Apparently, Facebook selected the data that best supported their case, “they say.

While they are not unaware of the real concerns that small businesses could have with Apple’s changes and that Facebook is interested in defending them. “But misinformation about the effectiveness of advertising is not the way to do it,” they point out.

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