Apple anti-tracking feature for Safari will restrict Facebook from following users by disabling its Social Plugins

Apple anti-tracking feature for Safari will restrict Facebook from following users by disabling its Social Plugins

Back in June, we reported that the newest version of Apple’s Safari browser would introduce a new anti-tracking feature called ‘Intelligent Tracking Prevention’. According to Apple Senior VP, Craig Federighi, the new feature will use machine-learning to prevent trackers from following users as they move from website to website, such as those used by Facebook and Google for Remarketing ads.

As we previously explained, although information on user interactions (such as clicks) will still be collected, this new ‘anti-tracking’ feature means that it will only be available for third-party contexts for a period of 24 hours. This information will also be deleted entirely if a website isn’t visited within 30 days.

In a statement released by Facebook last Monday, Shashank Gupta announced that this will also apply to websites that use one of Facebook’s Social Plugins (such as the Like, Share and Comment functionalities).

As Search Engine Land explains, since 2015, any time a user loads a page on a website that uses Facebook’s Social Plugins will have their information sent to Facebook. This includes their user ID, the website they’re visiting, the date and time, and other information related to their browser.

However, as the Intelligent Tracking Prevention tool is able to deactivate the Social Plugins, it can prevent these websites from sending user information to Facebook.

Additionally, although Safari users can use the Social Plugins as normal if they access Facebook every day, they’ll be required to go through an additional confirmation screen if they haven’t visited the website for more than 24 hours. If a user fails to access Facebook in a 30-day period, they’ll also need to re-enter their login details to use these Social Plugins.

Facebook advises advertisers to update to their latest SDK and use the SFAuthenticationSession API. More information on this can be found in Facebook’s official announcement.

The TJM take: According to Facebook, they’re currently working on a solution ‘that will require people to go through an additional login screen more often on Safari’. This is something we’re not surprised to hear, as Facebook won’t want to lose revenue due to a lack of targeting information.

Although we think it’s likely that Facebook will find a way around this, we can’t say the same for LinkedIn and other remarketing platforms. As people don’t tend to return to many platforms as often as Google or Facebook, the two behemoths will likely capture even more advertising spend.

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