Last year Apple started blocking third party cookies from Safari, using Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) to block cookies that aren’t first party cookies. But companies like Facebook are fighting back by allowing a first party cookies option for sites using their ad tracker, Facebook Pixel. Google’s also doing this with Google Analytics. What does this mean for online marketers, and web users?
Third party tracking cookies have long been a concern for users, some of whom have felt that tracking has become too ubiquitous and invasive. That’s why some search engines like DuckDuckGo and web browsers like Safari use their non-tracking and privacy practices as a USP. But companies like Facebook, Google and others get their money through targeted advertising based on tracking, so Apple’s decision to limit tracking conflicts with their interests.
In order to allow advertisers to continue accessing your search history, Facebook has given them the option of using a first party-cookie version of Pixel, which gives the site more control over the data they collect. This gets around Safari’s tracking restrictions. This move has been controversial, considered by some as insincere. Will users feel that they’re no longer being tracked, when they in fact still are? Facebook has stressed that businesses using Facebook Business Tools (including Pixel) must disclose the way they collect and use the data from their cookies.