Apple and Facebook have been in a very public spit over the last few months as Apple calls up its pro-privacy position. The two companies have been tense for a long time, but recently Facebook is taking pictures of an upcoming iOS and iPadOS feature that will require apps and computer companies like Facebook to ask users’ permission before tracking them on other sites and websites.
While the war of words has mostly remained professional, Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook have also shared a storm of attacks against each other. During an interview in 2018 in the middle of Facebook’s infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal, Cook was asked how he would lead Apple if it were to face a similar crisis. Cook responded by ruling out the hypothetical situation outside the question, saying that Apple would not be in the situation Facebook was in, thanks to its different approach to privacy and user data. Zuckerberg fired back, calling Cook’s comments on television “extremely slippery” and “not at all in line with the truth.”
Zuckerberg, outraged by Cook’s comments and public influence on Facebook’s reputation, allegedly told internal assistants and team members that Facebook needed to “inflict pain on Apple”, according to sources who spoke of anonymity to Wall Street Journal. Last month, during the company’s earnings, Zuckerberg called Apple for an increasing threat to Facebook and accused the Cupertino technology giant of using its platforms to disrupt how Facebook operates its own apps.
The day after the public comments, Cook responded indirectly in a speech during the computer, privacy and data protection conference in which he condemned Facebook and suggested that the business model for maximizing engagement leads to division and violence. During the same speech, Cook criticized Facebook’s potential role in the January 6 Capitol uprising, accusing the social media company’s algorithms of spreading conspiracy theories.
In December, Facebook ran full-page ads that attacked Apple’s upcoming ATT or App Tracking Transparency requirements that would force apps to ask for the user’s permission before being tracked across apps and the Internet. Facebook is attacking Apple from the point of view that ATT will harm small businesses that rely on personal ads that come from effective tracking. In response, Cook weighed in directly on Twitter, saying that Apple will simply give users a choice as to whether or not they want to be tracked.
Despite the personal shocks and attacks, in a statement given to Wall Street Journal, Facebook spokeswoman Dani Lever rejected the idea that the tension between the two is personal, and instead suggests that it was about the future of the free internet. Facebook claims that choosing between tracking users for custom ads and protecting their privacy is a “false trade-off”, and claims that they believe it can provide both. The spokeswoman reiterated earlier comments from Facebook that Apple’s privacy features are not meant to preserve users’ privacy, but instead are about increasing profits, and that Facebook will join others to mark Apple’s “self-encouraging, competitive behavior.”
Apple declined to comment on the report.
Facebook is reportedly planning to take dissatisfaction with Apple to court, as it has reportedly been preparing to sue the Cupertino-based technology company over its “unfair” approach to privacy with ATT and iMessage. As part of the lawsuit, Facebook is considering collaborating with other companies such as Epic Games, which is already involved in a massive legal battle with Apple to pursue the antitrust case. However, Facebook may scrap plans to promote any legal action against Apple.
Senator Mike Lee from Utah, who leads the Republican effort in the Senate subcommittee on antitrust, said Wall Street Journal that the feud between Apple and Facebook is in the “connection between privacy and antitrust”, and that he does not want to “introduce regulation that only ends up protecting established and entrenched monopolies.”
Apple has committed to launching ATT with iOS and iPadOS 14.5 in early spring, and Facebook has apparently conceded defeat in its failed attempt to stop the new claim from going into action. Apps have the freedom to customize the prompt that users will receive and request permission to track across other apps and online, and screenshots of Facebook’s request for its iOS app prompt users to select tracking to receive a better advertising experience . “
Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion on this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News Forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posts are limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.