Artificial IntelligenceCryptocurrencyMetaverseCybersecurityTech Forward

Google’s latest privacy changes could hurt Facebook-parent Meta

February 16, 2022, 10:54 PM UTC

Google’s upcoming privacy changes to its Android mobile operating system could upend the digital ad industry on which companies like Facebook-parent Meta depend.

The search giant’s parent company, Alphabet, said Wednesday that it would impose new restrictions on apps sharing user data with third parties and on certain features that are intended to help marketers track users across multiple apps.

The planned privacy updates follow Apple’s similar changes last year to its competing iOS mobile operating system. Those updates caught many digital marketers and advertisers off guard because the changes, which let users avoid being tracked by third parties across apps, were implemented quickly.

In a blog post on Wednesday, Google took a thinly veiled swipe at Apple, saying that “other platforms have taken a different approach to ads privacy, bluntly restricting existing technologies used by developers and advertisers.”

“We believe that—without first providing a privacy-preserving alternative path—such approaches can be ineffective and lead to worse outcomes for user privacy and developer businesses,” Google said.

Google added that it would continue to support its existing digital ad features for at least two years, giving advertisers some time before they must make changes.

Apple, through its iOS mobile platforms and related app store, and Google, through Android, dominate the app market. Any major changes the companies make to either of their operating systems or app stores can profoundly impact the many developers and companies that rely on their software and ecosystems.

For instance, Apple’s privacy changes continue to haunt Facebook-parent Meta, which alongside Google has built a formidable online ad business that is strengthened partly by user data and tracking. In February, Meta pointed to Apple’s privacy updates as contributing to its disappointing financial results, sending its market value plunging nearly $200 billion.

On Wednesday, Meta shares were down 2% to $216.54.

Never miss a story: Follow your favorite topics and authors to get a personalized email with the journalism that matters most to you.