A new feature added to Apple’s Safari could hinder Facebook’s ability to track people’s online activity.
Facebook can track people’s behaviour on other sites using its engagement buttons, such as its “Like” buttons, which appear on many other web pages.
It enables Facebook to capture data such as user ID, the website they are visiting, and the browser they are using.
Facebook can then use this information to better target ads to people both on and off the social network.
But the new Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature on the mobile and desktop versions of Safari interferes with Facebook’s tracking of these buttons.
And with the latest update of Safari, this feature has been autoenabled.
Earlier this year, six major advertising organisations signed an open letter detailing their concerns about this new feature, which arrived with Safari 11.
The organisations said: “In addition to blocking all third-party cookies (i.e. those set by a domain other than the one being visited), as the current version of Safari does, this new functionality would create a set of haphazard rules over the use of first-party cookies (i.e. those set by a domain the user has chosen to visit) that block their functionality or purge them from users’ browsers without notice or choice.”
So far it is not known quite how it will affect Facebook’s mobile advertising business, and the company has not commented on the implementation.