The Battle for Digital Privacy Is Reshaping the Internet

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By georgeskef

In the midst of Apple and Google introduce privacy-related changes companies are grappling with the aftermath, Madison Avenue is fighting to defend itself and Facebook has come out in protest.

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple unveiled a pop-up message on iPhones in April. It asks people to give their consent for tracking by various applications.

Google recently announced plans to disabling a tracking feature within the Chrome Web browser.

And Facebook has said in the past month thousands of engineers are at work on a novel method of displaying ads that doesn’t rely on personal information.

These developments could be thought of as tech-related tinkering however, they are linked to something more substantial that was a raging battle over how the web will evolve. The conflict has caught tech giants, toppled Madison Avenue and disrupted small companies. This is a significant shift in the way personal data is used online, with huge implications for how companies earn money online.

In the middle of the battle is the lifeblood of the internet: advertising.

Over twenty years ago, advent of the internet brought about a major change within the advertising industry. It destroyed magazines and newspapers which depended on selling classified and printed ads and threatened to supplant television advertising as the primary method of reaching huge audiences.

Instead, companies drew their advertisements on websites and their offers were often targeted to specific preferences of the user. These digital ads fueled the rise of Facebook, Google and Twitter and Twitter, which provided their search and social network services for free to users. In exchange, users were tracked from site website using technologies like ” cookies,” and their personal information was used to provide people with relevant advertisements.

This system, which grew into an estimated $350 billion global digital advertising industry, is now being smashed. In response to concerns about privacy on the internet, Apple and Google have begun to rewrite the rules surrounding collecting data on the internet. Apple has cited the principle that privacy is a priority, begun rolling out tools that prevent advertisers from tracking individuals. Google relies on digital ads, is attempting to do both by re-inventing the system to continue to target people with ads but not gaining data about their individual information.

If personal data has become the main currency that users use to buy online services and content other things must replace it. Media companies, app developers and online retailers are looking at different ways to survive the privacy-conscious web, in some cases , they are reversing the business model they have established. A lot of them are attempting to charge users for their online purchases through fees for subscriptions, as well as other fees instead of utilizing their personal information.

Jeff Green, the chief executive of the Trade Desk, an ad-technology firm based in Ventura, Calif., that collaborates with major ad agencies, said that the behind-the-scenes struggle was essential to the very nature of the internet.

“The internet is answering a question that it’s been wrestling with for decades, which is: How is the internet going to pay for itself?” He said.

The fallout could harm brands who relied on targeted advertising to encourage people to purchase their products. This could also affect tech giants such as Facebook however not long. Companies that not track individuals anymore however, they still have to promote are likely to invest more with the top tech platforms that contain the most information about customers.

David Cohen, chief executive of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a trade association, said that the changes will be able in order to “drive money and attention to Google, Facebook, Twitter.”

The shifts are complicated due to the two companies’ differing opinions about how much tracking should be rescinded. Apple is adamant that its customers who pay for its iPhones as well as its other products, to be able to disable tracking completely. However, Google executives have claimed the possibility that Apple has made privacy an advantage for those who are able to purchase its goods.

For many people, this means that the web could start appearing different based on the device they are using. On Apple devices, advertisements may be a little relevant to the user’s needs when compared to the specifically targeted ads on Google’s site. Webmasters could eventually pick the latter, and some websites that are compatible with Google’s browser could not run in Apple’s browsers according to Brendan Eich, a founder of Brave, a privately-owned web browser.

“It will be a tale of two internets,” he added.

Companies that fail to keep up with the latest developments are at risk of being trampled. More and more media companies and apps that even show the weather charge subscription fees similar to the way Netflix has a monthly cost for streaming video. A few online stores are thinking of increasing prices for their products to boost their revenue.

Take a look at Seven Sisters Scones Seven Sisters Scones, an online bakery situated in Johns Creek, Ga. The bakery is dependent on Facebook advertisements to advertise its products. Nate Martin, who leads the bakery’s digital marketing stated that when Apple removed some of its ad tracking and its advertising campaigns through Facebook were less effective. Because Facebook did not have the same amount of information about what customers’ preferences for baked goods It was more difficult for the bakery to find customers who were interested online.

“Everything came to a screeching halt,” Mr. Martin said. In June, revenue for the bakery fell to $16,000, down after $40,000 during May.

Sales have remained steady the company added. To counteract the drop, Seven Sisters Scones has talked about raising prices for samples to $36 instead of $29.

Apple did not respond to requests for comment However, its executives have indicated that advertisers will adjust. Google has said it is looking for a solution that will protect the data of people however, it also allows advertisers to continue to reach users through advertisements.

In the past few years, a large portion of the internet has been built on digital advertising. In the decade prior to that the code that was embedded into web browsers called “cookie” — began monitoring the activities of users across different websites. Marketers utilized the data to target ads at people who are who was interested in bicycles or makeup would see ads on these topics and other products.

When introduction of the iPhone as well as Android app stores launched back in the year 2008, advertisers recorded data on what users engaged in within apps, by putting up invisible trackers. This data was linked to cookies and then shared with companies that deal in data to help with more precise advertising targeting.

The result was a huge advertising industry that backed free online sites and services. Websites and apps such as BuzzFeed and TikTok prospered under this model. E-commerce sites also rely on advertising to grow their operations.

But the distrust in these practices started to grow. In the year 2018 Facebook was implicated with the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which individuals’ Facebook information was obtained without consent. In the is the year European authorities enacted the General Data Protection Regulation legislation to protect the privacy of individuals’ data. In the year 2019, Google and Facebook have agreed to pay record penalties for the Federal Trade Commission to settle complaints of privacy breaches.

Then, in Silicon Valley, Apple reconsidered its marketing strategy. In the year 2017 Craig Federighi, Apple’s head of software engineering, made a statement that Apple’s Safari internet browser will stop cookies from following users between sites.

“It kind of feels like you’re being tracked, and that’s because you are,” Mr. Federighi stated. “No longer.”

In the year 2000, Apple announced the pop-up window that is included in iPhone applications asking users whether they wish to be tracked to market purposes. If the user doesn’t want to be tracked the app should stop tracking and sharing data with third-party companies.

This triggered the protest from Facebook that was among the apps that was affected. In December, the social media platform put out newspaper ads that were full-page proclaiming that they were “standing up to Apple” on behalf of small companies which would be hurt if their ads were unable to be targeted to certain viewers.

“The situation is going to be challenging for them to navigate,” Mark Zuckerberg Facebook’s chief executive declared.

Facebook is currently working on ways to show people advertisements by analyzing the data on their devices, without permitting personal information being shared to other parties. If users who visit advertisements for deodorant purchase sneaker shoes, Facebook can share that pattern with advertisers, so that they could show ads for sneaker products to the group of people. This is less disruptive than sharing personal data such as email addresses with advertisers.

“We support giving people more control over how their data is used, but Apple’s far-reaching changes occurred without input from the industry and those who are most impacted,” an Facebook spokesperson told.

Since Apple introduced the pop-up window that it has released, over 80 percent of iPhone users have decided to opt out of tracking globally according to ad technology companies. The month before, Peter Farago, an executive at Flurry, an analytics company for mobile which is owned by Verizon Media, published a blog post on LinkedIn declaring the “time of death” for advertising tracking on iPhones.

In Google, Sundar Pichai, the chief executive officer, and his staff began to talk about in the year 2019 how to offer more privacy without destroying Google’s revenue of $135 million advertising business. In research, Google researchers found that cookies undermined trust among users. Google stated that its Chrome and advertising teams concluded they believed that Chrome web browser should cease accepting cookies.

However, Google has also stated that it will not remove cookies until it found an alternative method to allow marketers to continue to serve individuals with targeted ads. In March, Google tested an approach using its data warehouses to put people into groups according to their interests. This way, advertisers can direct their ads towards these groups rather than people individually. The method is referred to as Federated Learning of Cohorts FLOC, also known as FLOC. Google will not stop trackers from Chrome until 2023, meanwhile advertisers are becoming worried about the future.

In a piece published this previous year Sheri Bachstein, who was the director of IBM Watson Advertising, warned that privacy concerns were a sign that relying on advertising for income is at risk. Businesses need to adapt to the new privacy laws, she added, for example by charging subscription fees , and making use of artificial intelligence to serve advertisements.

“The big tech companies have put a clock on us,” she stated when she was interviewed.

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