French antitrust authorities accuse Apple of abusing market domminace in advertising conditions

French antitrust authorities accuse Apple of abusing its market dominance with discriminatory and non-transparent advertising conditions related to use of user data.

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The French antitrust authorities filed a complaint against Apple, accusing it of abusing its dominant position in the market by placing advertising conditions that are ‘discriminatory, non-objective and non-transparent for the use of user data for advertising purposes.’

Apple’s App Tracking Transparency policy (ATT), implemented in April 2021, requires developers to get user consent before tracking users’ movements to build digital profiles and deliver customised adverts. The concept of “tracking” techniques involves capturing the user’s “identifier for advertisers” (IDFA), which is a unique string of digits similar to a social security number used in digital advertising. Apple announced this in 2020, which led to significant concerns and reactions within the digital advertising industry.

Apple denies the allegations and reiterated that it maintains its advertising business in compliance with privacy standards. Apple stated that its apps do not use an ATT prompt as they do not ‘track’ users via third-party apps to build profiles. At the same time, there are criticisms over Apple’s personalised adverts from its ‘first-party’ data, where Apple has direct access to data, including in-app purchases and subscriptions, to personalise adverts.