Tim Cook at Apple calls out Facebook as encouraging violence

Zuck responds by saying Apple is just abusing its market position.

Story here:

Can some of you smart techno people explain what’s going on? And what the new Apple App tracker feature will do?

(Putting this in GQ because I think it’s a factual question, but I suppose it might end up in GD)

Bitch fight! I have a c-note on Cook. Any takers?

More seriously, Apple has long had the general policy of not monetizing their customers’ personal data, which is at odds with basically the rest of the technology industry, and particularly social media companies for which that is their main if not exclusive source of revenue.


Regarding Apple App tracker, every Apple mobile device (other manufacturers have their own version) has an Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) which is a random code assigned to the device that is (by default) provided to apps when an advertiser requests it.

This allows advertisers to track you as you move between the apps that they provide advertising for. This setting only affect 3rd party advertisers (so if you login to an app using your Facebook account, Facebook is always going to be able to track you through that).

The new features that Apple is trying to market are:

  • They are changing the setting so that by default, your IDFA isn’t shared to 3rd party advertisers
  • The IDFA setting can changed on per app basis rather than being a global setting
  • There is a setting that will prevent Apple from using the information it gathers as a first party to serve you ads.

For some context, Facebook says the new iOS tracking rules might cut its Audience Network revenue by 50%. So they are a little miffed with Apple.

To give the story even more context, there’s been some bad blood between Zuckerberg and Cook for the past few years in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal when Cook during an interview gave a rather pointed critique of Facebook’s business model of monetizing their customers personal data. Zuckerberg took the comments very personally, going so far, it was reported, as to ban his Facebook management team from using iPhones.

Since then, and as Apple has continued to bang the “privacy is a human right” drum which is anathema to Facebook’s very existence, Facebook has taken every opportunity it can to shame Apple. Cook’s speech, and Zuckerberg zinging Apple in his prepared remarks a few days ago during Facebook’s quarterly earnings report, are the latest round in the growing animosity between the two companies.

As summarized in a recent Wall St. Journal article (probably paywalled, but this is the gist of it):

“Apple has positioned itself as the protector of digital privacy, upholding a greater good, while often leveling criticisms at Facebook’s business model—without naming the company. All of that grates on Facebook, which sees Apple as overreaching in a way that threatens Facebook’s existence, and hypocritical, including by doing extensive business in China where privacy is scarce. A 2017 attempt to address tensions through a face-to-face meeting between the two CEOs resulted in a tense standoff.”

“The trigger last month was a new privacy tool the iPhone maker plans to roll out that will further restrict Facebook’s ability to collect data. Mr. Zuckerberg accused Apple on an earnings call of using its platform to interfere with how Facebook apps work. Mr. Cook, without naming Facebook, delivered an online speech condemning “conspiracy theories juiced by algorithms”—a jab that came just days after the Capitol riot.”

“At stake is how the internet will evolve and which companies will dominate it. Facebook and Apple’s visions are diverging and increasingly incompatible. Facebook wants to capture and monetize eyeballs on every possible device and platform. Apple wants to draw users to its own hardware-centric universe, partly by marketing itself as a privacy-focused company. The outcome of the battle could affect what kinds of information users see when they browse the internet.”