Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference kicked off yesterday with another round of news and information for the firm’s faithful adherents. Included in day one of the annual liturgy was a small slice of goodness that might have some Macolytes considering a switch back to the Safari browser.
Senior VP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi delivered a jab at Facebook’s ever-growing tracking methods that have become especially unpopular of late. The social media giant has had its reputation as a good netizen spectacularly explode after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, leading to Federighi scoring an applause when he promised to shut down some of its tracking capability.
Apple software chief Federighi:
“We’ve all seen these... like buttons and share button and comment fields. It turns out these can be used to track you whether you click on them or not. So, this year we’re shutting that down. Now, if you do want to interact with one of these or one of these apps tries to access your information, you’ll get this [Safari pop-up]… And you can decide to keep your information private.”
Federighi didn’t actually name Facebook, but his presentation did show attendees those familiar Facebook like, share and comment fields as they exist across the web. Apple iOS will rescue the overly-marketed masses with an intelligent tracking protection feature that promises to keep user’s interactions private as they journey beyond the walls of Facebook. The tracking protection feature will make it more difficult for Facebook to not only collect data on your browsing habits but will make it more difficult for Facebook to identify you on your journeys.
Taking a jab at Facebook for applause has become the proverbial low hanging fruit of keynotes these days. But we must applaud Apple for putting work behind it. Facebook’s tracking methods are so sophisticated today that it’s literally the stuff of a Jesse Ventura fantasy.
We all knew Facebook was gathering our likes, posts and pictures from our fishing trip last summer. But the social media firm’s tracking capability outside of Facebook may surprise you. Many websites contain the embedded technology to know exactly who you are when you visit. But where it gets creepy is that Facebook may even be tracking your physical location right now.
If you’re reading this on a smartphone with the Facebook app installed and you have not bothered going into your Android or iOS settings to turn it off – Facebook knows exactly where you get your morning coffee on the way to work.
Here’s hoping that tracking protection features become a trend. Sure, it’s mostly benign targeted advertising that really just wants to tempt you with those new hiking shoes you’ve been thinking of buying recently. But our personal data has an intrinsic value that shouldn’t be given away so easily.