Facebook shuts down its Apple TV app

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Facebook just gave its fans one less reason to consider buying an Apple TV. Over the weekend, the social media giant appears to have quietly interrupted facebook watchits tvOS app for viewing Facebook videos and live streams on Apple TV.

facebook watch was a popular way for Apple TV users to watch Facebook videos on the big screen. You can log into your Facebook account and watch videos from your own timeline, friends and family, groups and pages you follow, and more.

Unfortunately, that no longer seems to be an option.

Ironically, the move came in an update to the facebook watch application which introduced a new design. However, when opening the app and selecting a user profile, the welcome screen is overlaid with a message that reads: “Facebook Watch TV app is no longer available”.

Instead, the app says you can “still find plenty of videos on Facebook at www.facebook.com/watch.” However, it’s not particularly useful for Apple TV users because the set-top box doesn’t include a web browser.

This means that the only official way to watch videos from Facebook on an Apple TV is to take out your iPhone, iPad or Mac and stream them via AirPlay.

However, you can skip Apple TV altogether if you have a smart TV. facebook watch still seems to be available on various Smart TV app stores, and it works well on those devices.

Why Facebook is abandoning Apple TV?

While there’s an argument that Apple TV isn’t the most popular platform for app makers, it still seems a bit unusual for a giant like Facebook to suddenly cut it, especially when ‘he still enthusiastically supports other smart TV platforms.

After all, this isn’t a game developer that isn’t getting a large enough audience to justify continuing to support the unique requirements of Apple TV. The effort required by Facebook to make facebook watch the work on Apple TV should be minimal compared to all the other platforms the app can be found on, from LG and Samsung TVs to Amazon Fire Sticks and Xbox One and Series S/X consoles.

Sure, Facebook may be considering pulling out of these other platforms, but so far we haven’t seen any evidence of that. The Facebook Watch FAQ also still lists Apple TV as a supported platform, so it’ll be interesting to see if others drop that list.

However, Facebook may have a slightly more sinister motivation for dropping support for the Facebook Watch tvOS app: ad tracking.

When I opened facebook watch on my LG Smart TV, the first thing I saw was a notice that Facebook would collect cookies “to provide a better experience”, noting that if I wanted to continue, I agree to let it “collect information through Cookies”. ”

We all know what Facebook looks like when it comes to privacy. it’s a data-intensive machine that relies on tracking user behavior to collect marketing data and sell ads. We also know Apple’s stance on privacy on all of its devices, including the Apple TV.

Facebook hates Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature, and it’s notorious that it seriously affects Facebook’s bottom line. Using facebook watch on your Apple TV won’t give Facebook nearly as much data as it can glean on your smart TV, where privacy protections are nearly non-existent.

For example, since most Smart TV apps run through a common web browser framework, facebook watch can determine what other apps you have installed on your TV, which ones you use, and how much you use them. In some cases, Facebook may even know what you’re looking at in those other apps. It depends on their privacy policies, but it would be naïve to expect YouTube or Netflix to do better than Facebook when it comes to this sort of thing.

All of this is strictly prohibited by Apple’s privacy policies. The closest a tvOS app can understand what you’re doing is using an advertising ID that can be shared between apps, but that’s also what app tracking transparency is designed to prevent. Chances are that many Facebook users will opt out when given the chance.

However, since most Apple TV users have their set-top boxes plugged into smart TVs, Facebook is likely hoping that Facebook fans will switch to using facebook watch there, where the social media giant can easily fetch much more useful tracking data.

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