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Facebook says iPhone users will start seeing new privacy prompt today

Facebook users will be asked to give the social network permission to track their activity across other apps and websites.

Facebook isn't a fan of Apple's privacy update.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Facebook users who own iPhones will soon face a decision about their online privacy.

On Monday, Facebook said it will start rolling out a new prompt that asks users who have updated their Apple device's operating systems to give the social network permission to track their activities across other apps and websites. The social network, along with other apps, are being required to make this change as part of iOS 14.5, which Apple released Monday.

"We'll start rolling out the prompt to iOS 14.5 users today, but we will roll out the prompt over the course of a few weeks, so not all eligible users will see the prompt right away," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. The representative added some Facebook users have already seen the prompt, but declined to say how many. 


Facebook plans to show its users this screen before asking them permission to track them across other apps and websites.


"We're ramping this rollout globally to ensure everything works as expected," the spokesperson said. Facebook has 2.8 billion monthly active users worldwide.

Facebook has publicly sparred with Apple about the change, accusing the smartphone maker of making a move it says will harm small businesses that rely on the company's targeted ads to reach new customers. Apple has said it's rolling out the feature, known as App Tracking Transparency, to give users more control over their data. Facebook plans to show users its own screen before showing Apple's prompt, noting the social network uses data from other apps and websites to display personalized ads, keep the service free and support businesses. 

Facebook has battled several privacy scandals in recent years, raising concerns that the social media company isn't doing enough to protect user data. In 2018, revelations surfaced that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytic harvested the data of up to 87 million Facebook users without their permission. The social network, which makes most of its money from advertising, is scheduled to release its first-quarter earnings on Wednesday.