The rivalry between Facebook and Apple escalated this week when Apple announced that its popular Safari web browser will begin to automatically block the cookies that Facebook uses to track you around the web.
This isn’t the first time the two tech giants have traded barbs, but rarely have their taunts and insults turned to actual action. Facebook relies heavily on the data it gathers tracking users to target its advertising, so Apple’s move is a direct shot at the company’s revenue. The advertisers themselves are angry too, with Interactive Advertising Bureau executive Dennis Buchheim issuing a stern statement that browser makers need to consider all the free services that are allowed to exist on the web because of ad dollars.
Apple says it designed the tool to sort out between “helpful” cookies like the kind that helps you stay signed in to your email account, and the privacy-invading sort that Facebook uses. Normally this kind of feature would be left for browser add-ons to tackle, so Apple’s entry into the fray signals how seriously some tech companies are beginning to take user privacy. But even still, the tool isn’t perfect; Facebook will still be able to track your behavior while you’re using the site. However, something is better than nothing, particularly when it comes to protecting your info online.