The feud between Apple and Facebook over privacy-related issues is not hidden from anyone. In the last few weeks, we have seen the two tech giants criticising each other in the public domain. Behind the scenes, however, criticisms may be even harsher.
Back in 2018, when Facebook was at the receiving end of wide criticism over data practices, Apple CEO Tim Cook in an interview said he would have not been in Mark Zuckerberg’s position. Responding to the criticism, Zuckerberg said Cook’s comments were “extremely glib” and “not aligned with the truth.” In private, Zuckerberg was more critical of Apple. “We need to inflict pain,” he told his team, for treating Facebook poorly, according to The Wall Street Journal.
That was not the first time when Apple and Facebook were at loggerheads. The tensions between the sides became public way back in 2014 when Cook criticised Facebook’s business model. In the following years, bitterness appears to have only increased.
Facebook later published full-page advertisements with the headline “We’re standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere.”
We believe users should have the choice over the data that is being collected about them and how it’s used. Facebook can continue to track users across apps and websites as before, App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14 will just require that they ask for your permission first. pic.twitter.com/UnnAONZ61I
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) December 17, 2020
Apple hit back stating, “When invasive tracking is your business model, you tend not to welcome transparency and customer choice.” Cook followed this with a tweet saying that Facebook can continue to track users but they need to take user permission first.
“We believe users should have the choice over the data that is being collected about them and how it’s used. Facebook can continue to track users across apps and websites as before, App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14 will just require that they ask for your permission first,” he said.
Zuckerberg, however, sees Apple’s ulterior motives behind the changes. During the recent earnings call, he said that Apple was becoming one of Facebook’s biggest competitors. According to reports, Facebook is exploring the idea of filing an antitrust lawsuit against Apple.
“This is not about two companies – this is about the future of the free internet. Apple is creating two sets of rules – one for themselves and one for small businesses, app developers, and consumers who lose out. Apple claims this is about privacy, but it’s about profit, and we’re joining others to point out their self-preferencing, anti-competitive behaviour,” Facebook said in a statement responding to the WSJ report.