Facebook has slammed Apple, via adverts placed in mainstream US newspapers, over an operating system update that makes it harder for social media companies to harvest data from users in order to hit them with personalized ads.

In full-page adverts carried by the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Facebook claims that new privacy updates for Apple’s iOS 14 operating system, which came out on Monday, will be bad for small firms.

The social media giant vows that it is “standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere,” as it attacks changes to the Apple operating system that force developers to request permission from mobile users to track them.

This is potentially an extra barrier for developers wanting to hand over data from apps to other companies for targeted advertising – something Facebook claims will harm small businesses already struggling amid the pandemic.

“While limiting how personalized ads can be used does impact larger companies like us, these changes will be devastating to small businesses, adding to the many challenges they face right now,” it says in the advert.

Facebook cited a Deloitte study, which found that small businesses had increased their use of personalized ads in 2020, and its own data that it said showed small firms stood to make 60 percent fewer sales without personalized ads.

The social network also hit out at Apple in August, criticizing the iPhone maker for refusing to waive fees for transactions in apps on its devices, as Facebook launched a new events feature through which small businesses could charge users for watching streams.

It originally emerged in June that Apple’s iOS 14 would give users the option to decline app advertising tracking. The feature was then delayed, but it is now included in the latest software update.

The tech giant continues to deploy user data in personalizing ads on its own apps as a default setting.

Apple defended the move in November in a letter to human rights organizations, in which it reportedly said: “Facebook executives have made clear their intent is to collect as much data as possible across both first- and third-party products to develop and monetize detailed profiles of their users.”

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