Apple Under the Scanner in France Over Advertising Policy

  • Apple’s advertising practices have come under scrutiny by France’s antitrust body, Autorité de la Concurrence (AdlC).
  • The statement of objection has accused Apple of abusing its dominant position through non-transparent, non-objective, and discriminatory ad practices.

France’s antitrust body has formally addressed a grievance against Apple, accusing the company of abusing its dominance in the market to set unfair conditions for using user data for advertising purposes, affecting several related markets. The probe focuses explicitly on Apple’s App Tracking Transparency policy.

This policy, implemented in early 2021, makes it mandatory for app developers to get user permission to track their movements from one app to another. This practice allows the company to generate digital user profiles to push personalized ads. This move is said to have cost competition significantly. Facebook, for instance, reportedly lost an annual revenue of $10 billion due to Apple’s practices.

This is not the first time such a probe has been set against Apple. Poland, Germany, and Italy have also conducted similar investigations against the tech giant. The investigations raise questions about Apple’s rapidly growing ad business, projected to grow by around six times by 2026.

See More: Apple Hints Development of Apple GPT, May Halt iMessage and FaceTime Services in the U.K.

As regulators in the EU struggle to control Big Tech’s dominance in the region, Apple has also been accused of restricting other companies who might want to inform their customers about deals that are available outside Apple’s app store in competitor platforms.

This is not the first time France has targeted Apple either. In January 2023, data protection authority CNIL fined the company approximately $8.5 million for collecting user data for targeted ads, violating the French Data Protection Act. The body also fined Google and Meta for similar violations.

Apple has defended itself, stating that its policies aimed at giving users more control and that users had the option to turn off personalized ads, and 80% of users have done so.

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