With the release of iOS 14.5, Apple enforced the App Tracking Transparency norms that make it mandatory for all apps to ask users for their permission before tracking them. This tracking is what allows companies to serve users targeted ads while filling their coffers with millions of dollars in ad money. Facebook opposed it vehemently, and once it was implemented, it started telling users that ad tracking is what keeps Facebook and Instagram free. Well, Twitter has now also started asking users to enable ad tracking, but in a more polite manner.
The latest build of Twitter for iOS (v8.65) now shows a splash screen, telling users that the ads they see on its social media platform will be more relevant if they enable ad tracking. Pretty obvious, right? After all, that’s the whole purpose of tracking the activity of users across apps and the internet. However, the ground reality is a tad less optimistic. A healthy number of promoted posts I see on Twitter tend to incline towards sensationalism, while the ads I see have a hit-or-miss record. On the positive side though, I’ve often found myself clicking on them.
At the end of the day, it depends on how conscious (or paranoid) you’re about your privacy and whether you want a social media giant to log your internet activity. If history is any indication, these companies – especially Facebook – don’t have a very good track record when it comes to protecting the data they’ve collected. Remember the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica fiasco? However, if your business or line of work is predominantly driven by social media, there is a chance that the ads you see will give you a better idea of what the competition is up to, or the general direction in which the industry is headed.
Even if you’re a regular bloke who’s interested in a particular topic, some of the ads you see might just be the product you’ve been looking for. Did you really want that product, or a company just triggered a desire by showing it to you based on your internet activity? That’s an altogether different debate addressing whether a company is creating a solution or demand. However, most users are not too keen on being tracked. As per a recent Flurry Media report, merely 4% of users in the United States opted-in for being tracked by apps in the second week after iOS 14.5’s release.