Adding Salt To Injury – As Facebook Losses $100 Billion, Cook Mocked Zuckerberg About Privacy

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Mar 29 2018
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Eight years ago, Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs warned and lectured the young Mark Zuckerberg on issues about privacy. “Privacy means people know what they’re signing up for, in plain English and repeatedly,” – Jobs said in 2010. If only the young Zuckerberg had listened to the wise man who saw it coming.


Of course, Mr. Jobs is dead and couldn’t say “I told you so.” But Job’s video discussing privacy issues – specifically targeting tech giants such as Facebook and Google – has resurfaced, about 7 years after the Apple genius’s death in 2011. And Facebook’s trouble has just begun. From its peak on February 2, Facebook has now lost more than US$100 billion in market value.


Perhaps both Google and Facebook should revisit what Jobs had said 8 years ago – “I believe people are smart and some people want to share more data than other people do. Ask them. Ask them every time. Make them tell you to stop asking them if they get tired of your asking them. Let them know precisely what you’re going to do with their data.”

Steve Jobs - I Told You So

But there’s someone else from Apple who has just came forward delivering a jab at Facebook. Adding salt to injury, CEO Tim Cook criticized Facebook in an interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher and MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Wednesday, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Mr. Cook lectured Mr. Zuckerberg, saying privacy is a human right.


Cook said – “We could make a ton of money if we monetized our customers, if our customers were our product. We’ve elected not to do that … We’re not going to traffic in your personal life. Privacy to us is a human right, a civil liberty.” He however added that it’s “too late” now even if Facebook has finally woken up and plans to do so.


The Apple CEO said – “I think the best regulation is no regulation, is self-regulation. However, I think we’re beyond that here.” Not only Facebook stock price is plunging, Mark Zuckerberg has been summoned to UK to appear before British lawmakers to be grilled about data privacy. Similarly, European Union set a deadline for Facebook to respond to its own questions.

Apple Tim Cook Mocked Facebook Mark Zuckerberg Bruises

Zuckerberg has refused to meet either UK or EU’s request but instead offered to send one of his deputies. However, in the U.S., he can’t hide and agrees to testify before the Congress. Even if he could survive the U.S. Congress’ interrogation, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) announced on Monday that it was investigating Facebook’s data privacy practices.


This is not the first time FTC is investigating Facebook. Back in 2011, the U.S. federal agency alleged that the social media giant misled its users by making data public that it had promised would be private. As part of a settlement, Facebook agreed to ask for users’ permission before sharing their data more broadly than their privacy settings specified.


After the Cambridge Analytica scandal exploded, unfortunately, questions were raised whether Facebook ran afoul of the 2011 agreement between the world’s largest social media and FTC. This round, Zuckerberg needs more convincing than saying it wasn’t Facebook’s fault that the data mining firm was able to obtain 50 million Facebook users’ data without their consent.

Facebook - Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Adding pressure on Facebook, a group of 37 state attorneys general on Monday issued a demand for Facebook to explain its data protection practices. At least attorneys general of three states – New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts – have launched investigations into the matter. But is Apple any better than Facebook as far as privacy is concerned?


Apparently, Apple is doing a better job protecting users’ information. Eight years ago, Steve Jobs gave an example why his company was serious about privacy. Before any app can get location data, Apple users must approve it. To this day, Apple users need to enable “Location Services” and give permission to every app or website before it can use their location data.


However, Apple’s stricter approach to privacy has frustrated U.S. authorities. In the wake of the 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, the iPhone-maker resisted FBI requests to unlock an iPhone from one of the perpetrators, resulting in a high-profile legal battle. The Department of Justice subsequently found a way to unlock the device without Apple’s help.

Apple iPhone Asks For Access Permission For Facebook

Apple claimed that unlocking the phone would require writing software that could undermine the product’s security features for all users. As Tim Cook mocked Mark Zuckerberg’s misfortune with privacy, the Apple CEO said that Apple would fight again if it were ordered to unlock an iPhone.


To be fair, Cook has been sounding the alarm on mass data collection by Facebook and Google for years. In 2015, he criticised Facebook and Google advertising-based business models for their disregard for users’ privacy. Apple’s business model – selling products to customers for a profit – is obviously different from Facebook’s.


“They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetise it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.” – said Tim Cook. A year earlier in September 2014, he published an open letter to customers about privacy, stressing Apple’s lack of interest in building “a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers.”

Facebook Make Money

Cook said – “We believe the customer should be in control of their own information. You might like these so-called free services, but we don’t think they’re worth having your email, your search history and now even your family photos data-mined and sold off for god knows what advertising purpose. And we think some day; customers will see this for what it is.”


That day is finally here. Although Facebook’s business model is extremely profitable, the company is now facing a reckoning from consumers waking up to the reality of data breaches. When asked what he would do if he were in Zuckerberg’s shoes, currently facing problems arising from Cambridge Analytica scandal, Cook said – “I wouldn’t be in this situation.”


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