Back in the earliest days of Facebook, when it was still called Thefacebook, Apple was one of the first companies to give Mark Zuckerberg’s social media company a source of recurring revenue for encouraging users to join a dedicated Apple page.
Relations have gotten a bit chillier since then. During Facebook’s latest quarterly investor call, CEO Zuckerberg labeled Apple “one of [Facebook’s] biggest competitors.”
The comments, reported by 9to5Mac, relate to Apple’s new privacy protection measures—including an App Tracking Transparency feature that clues users in on which apps are tracking them.
Mark Zuckerberg Vs. Tim Cook
“Apple may say they’re doing this to help people, but the moves clearly track with their competitive interests,” Zuckerberg said.
Facebook has previously taken issue with Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature in a couple of full-page ads, which ran in major newspapers in December. In the ads, which were more likes sponsored editorials, Facebook claimed the feature would hurt small businesses. This is because they frequently use the targeted ads that Facebook offers, based around user data.
According to The Information, Facebook may currently be in the process of readying an antitrust lawsuit that would turn these arguments with Apple into a full-on legal skirmish.
Apple CEO Tim Cook hasn’t directly responded to Zuckerberg’s comments. However, in a speech at the European Union data protection conference CPDP on January 28, Cook delivered a keynote titled, “A path to empowering user choice and boosting user trust in advertising.” In it, he broadly gave his thoughts on this matter—albeit without referring to Facebook by name.
During the talk, which was delivered virtually from California and streamed online, Cook said that, “if we accept as normal, and unavoidable, that everything in our lives can be aggregated and sold, we lose so much more than data: we lose the freedom to be human.”
Building Ethical Technology
Tim Cook continued:
“At Apple…we believe that ethical technology is technology that works for you. It’s technology that helps you sleep, not keeps you up. It tells you when you’ve had enough. It gives you space to create, or draw, or write or learn; not refresh just one more time. It’s technology that can fade into the background when you’re on a hike, or going for a swim, but is there to warn you when your heart rate spikes or help you when you’ve had a nasty fall. And with all of this, always, it’s privacy and security first, because no-one needs to trade away the rights of their users to deliver a great product.”
This clash between the two tech giants is unlikely to subside any time soon. This isn’t just a disagreement between two businesses, but a clash between two business models that may, ultimately, be irreconcilable. We’ll keep you updated on what happens next.
Image Credit: Brett Jordan/Unsplash CC