Alibaba joins Facebook in worrying about iOS 14.5’s new privacy feature

What you need to know

  • Alibaba makes a huge amount of money from ads, and it’s worried Apple’s iOS 14.5 update will impact that revenue.
  • The company invited marketing executives to help work out what to do.

Another ad company is worried people won’t let it track them.

Apple’s recently released iOS 14.5 update ads support for App Tracking Transparency, or ATT. That means that users will need to give their permission before companies can track their actions and Chinese outfit Alibaba is worried that they won’t. Really worried.

According to a report by The Information, Alibaba is so concerned that iOS 14.5 could hit its bottom line that it invited half a dozen executives to help thrash out a plan for how to deal with it.

Last week, Alibaba invited half a dozen marketing industry executives to discuss a growing worry: Apple’s new privacy policy on its mobile software threatens to cut off the Chinese e-commerce giant and its advertising partners from troves of user data that fuel the company’s all-important ad business.

The private meeting at Alibaba headquarters in Hangzhou was a chance for the company to explore how to protect one of its biggest sources of revenue from mounting external pressure.

Despite that summit, it seems Alibaba hasn’t been able to decide what the best course of action is. There are more than 300 million iPhones being used in China right now and Alibaba needs to be able to track what those users are doing if it is to sell ads based on that data. If people don’t give their permission, it loses the data it needs.

It’s a similar situation that Facebook has found itself in and it too has concerns. Apple doesn’t, however, staying steadfast with its stance that user privacy is most important.

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