Written by Nick Heer.

‘Unclear Effects’ Postscript

I have this problem where, exactly two hours after pressing the “publish” button, I will think of one more thing I should have written. It does not matter how long I sit on a draft; it happens every time. But you have to stop somewhere.

In this case, though, I really want to add one more thing to the piece I wrote about the unclear effects of App Tracking Transparency from earlier today:

Is it possible the social media giants from California are facing waning relevance? Is ATT perhaps a useful scapegoat with questionable effect? […]

Meta said, quarter after quarter following ATT’s release, that its ability to make money from iPhone users would be crushed, even as it raked in higher ad sales. Finally, earlier this year, it posted some disappointing figures more reflective of inflation and a strong U.S. dollar. But it still blamed Apple for some of that loss.

It reminds me of one of those homeopathic remedies that promises relief from cold and flu symptoms after three to five days, which you may recognize is about the length of time most people notice cold and flu symptoms. Maybe you could blame Meta’s woes on a combination of sputtering user growth, trend-chasing platform updates, the rising threat of TikTok, geopolitical problems, and economic changes. Or, perhaps, it is a permissions prompt that, miraculously, has only appeared recently and to a greater extent in regions where Android is more popular.