Apple vs Facebook: Why is CEO Tim Cook shading Mark Zuckerberg?
There is nothing more fun to watch in sports than a good old fashioned beef. Two competitors go head to head on the court and exchange jabs off it. The best part of watching beef marinate is never the highlight reel games – it’s the comments made to the media about each other.
While we might not say we’re here for beef, we all know you are. So grab a seat because the next two superstars entering the ring are two tech giants fighting for privacy rights. It might seem like a boring beef to watch, but the beef between Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg runs deep.
While Cook is a champion for privacy rights, Zuckerburg has been fighting for Facebook’s use of collecting personal data on its users. The two powerful CEOs have exchanged jabs recently, and Cook might have delivered the final blow.
Full paid ads
In December, Facebook took out full-page ads in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and The Washington Post to detest Apple’s latest software update. The new software update, which has already rolled out, will make developers ask users for permission to gather data and track users across apps on iPhones and iPads.
The ad claimed Apple’s software update “will change the internet as we know it – for the worse”. Its biggest argument is that free blogs would have to start charging subscription fees without personalized or targeted ads, and free apps and games would charge more in-app purchases.
The final argument is that more small businesses have either begun or increased their use of personal or targeted ads during the pandemic. According to a Deloitte Survey, the ad references, the number is 44%. Facebook’s ad claimed they’re standing up for the little guy to take on the big business.
Facebook paid Deloitte to conduct the survey mentioned in their ads. While businesses are using more targeted ads, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bringing in substantially more money. According to a 2019 study, targeted ads could only bring in 4% more business than non-targeted ads.
In the study, Deloitte also noted readers should use it in the context of “how consumers are using digital tools to adapt the outbreak of COVID-19”. It does not measure how business revenue from the ads.
Tim Cook’s response
In a speech at Brussels’ International Data Privacy Day, Tim Cook delivered the final blow in a heated battle of privacy rights. The only thing is he never once utters the words Facebook or Mark Zuckerburg.
“Technology does not need vast troves of personal data stitched together across dozens of websites and apps in order to succeed. Advertising existed and thrived for decades without it,” Cook explained in his speech.
According to Cook, “We should not look away from the bigger picture, and a moment of rampant disinformation and conspiracy theory is juiced by algorithms. We can no longer turn a blind eye to a theory of technology that says all engagement is good engagement.”
Apple’s CEO is more worried about users reading a conspiracy theory on the internet to turn around to advertisements for more reading material on Facebook. He doesn’t care if the local bakery is running an ad.
What does the software update do?
Tim Cook wants to give Apple users a choice for developers, like Facebook, to track you from app to app. Apple isn’t shutting off its users’ data from Facebook. He is putting the power in his consumers’ hands.
It goes along with the fundamental differences between the two company’s business models. Apple is a brand of products and advertises privacy rights over profit. Apple could easily collect its users’ data and sell it to the highest bidder. However, its CEO doesn’t believe it’s ethical to make that decision for his users.
Gone are the days when Facebook was merely a social media platform. Its business is data collection so that they can sell ads to companies. The business thrives on data, and Apple gives people the opportunity to say I want to protect my data.
“If a business is built on misleading users on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all, then it does not deserve our praise. It deserves reform,” Cook added in his speech.