The battle for digital privacy is reshaping the internet

“The Internet answers a question it has struggled with for decades, namely: how is the Internet going to pay for itself? ” he said.

The fallout can hurt brands that have relied on targeted advertising to entice people to buy their products. It might hurt tech giants like Facebook at first, but not for long. Instead, companies that can no longer follow people but still need to advertise are likely to spend more with the biggest tech platforms, which still have the most consumer data.

David Cohen, chief executive of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a business group, said the changes would continue to “drive money and attention to Google, Facebook, Twitter.”

The changes are complicated by opposing views from Google and Apple on how much ad tracking to recall. Apple wants its customers, who pay extra for their iPhones, to have the right to block tracking entirely. But Google executives have suggested that Apple has made privacy a privilege for those who can afford its products.

For many people, this means that the internet can start to look different depending on the products they use. On Apple gadgets, advertisements may only be somewhat relevant to a person’s interests, compared to highly targeted promotions on the Google web. Website builders can optionally take sides, so some sites that work well in Google’s browser might not even load in Apple’s browser, said Brendan Eich, founder of Brave, the private web browser. .

“It will be the story of two Internets,” he said.

Companies that don’t keep up with the changes risk being crushed. Increasingly, media publishers and even apps that show the weather are charging subscription fees, much like Netflix is ​​charging monthly fees for video streaming. Some e-commerce sites are considering raising the prices of the products to maintain their income.

Consider Seven Sisters Scones, a mail order bakery in Johns Creek, Ga. That relies on Facebook ads to promote its items. Nate Martin, who heads digital marketing for the bakery, said that after Apple blocked ad tracking, its digital marketing campaigns on Facebook became less effective. Since Facebook could no longer get as much data on customers who love baked goods, it was more difficult for the store to find interested shoppers online.

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