Monday 23 July 2018

Facebook boss hits back at Apple

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg – millions of Facebook users had their personal data harvested by a British firm linked to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Photo: © 2017 Bloomberg Finance LP
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg – millions of Facebook users had their personal data harvested by a British firm linked to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Photo: © 2017 Bloomberg Finance LP
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has dismissed as "extremely glib" comments from Apple chief executive Tim Cook.

The Facebook boss was referring to criticism the Apple chief had levelled at the social network over its recent data-manipulation controversy. Speaking to Recode founder Kara Swisher, Mr Cook said that he "wouldn't be in the position" that Mr Zuckerberg found himself in.

However, Mr Zuckerberg countered Mr Cook's criticism, saying Facebook did not care "less" about its customers than Apple.

"I find that argument, that if you're not paying that somehow we can't care about you, to be extremely glib," said the Facebook chief. "And not at all aligned with the truth. The reality here is that if you want to build a service that helps connect everyone in the world, then there are a lot of people who can't afford to pay. And therefore, as with a lot of media, having an advertising-supported model is the only rational model that can support building this service to reach people.

While Facebook makes money selling targeted advertisements based on user data, Apple's profit comes from hardware products such as the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

"There are a lot of people who can't afford to pay" for a service and having an "advertising-supported model is the only rational model that can support building this service to reach people," Zuckerberg said. "If you want to build a service which is not just serving rich people, then you need to have something that people can afford."

The rebuttal follows fierce criticism from political and civic leaders after it was revealed millions of Facebook users had their personal data harvested by a British firm linked to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

Facebook is introducing new privacy controls and re-organising its privacy settings into one place on the phone app rather than scattered in different sections, where people give up looking for them.

The social media giant has also reworked its app so that people can see more clearly what personal information advertisers have access to and how to cut down the levels of data given over. The company is still attempting to recover from the international scandal that saw Cambridge Analytica misuse personal data of up to 50 million Facebook users to help elect Mr Trump in 2016.

"I think it's important that we don't all get Stockholm Syndrome and let the companies that work hard to charge you more convince you that they actually care more about you. Because that sounds ridiculous to me," said Mr Zuckerberg.

Irish Independent

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