Apple chief executive Tim Cook on Thursday launched a scathing attack on social advertising networks such as Facebook, claiming those platforms were responsible for real-world violence and dehumanizing consumers.
Thursday’s comments came a day after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg accused Apple of “regularly” using its dominant position to prefer its own products, in a growing war of words between the two companies.
Speaking at an event called Data Privacy Day in Brussels, Mr Cook did not mention any company by name.
However, he said that “in a time of rampant disinformation and algorithm-fueled conspiracy theories, we can no longer condone a theory of technology that says all engagement is good engagement.
“It’s high time to stop pretending this approach has no cost – of polarization, loss of confidence and, yes, violence,” he added, in an apparent allusion to the Capitol riots. in Washington.
Facebook, in particular, has come under scrutiny for its role in facilitating the organizers of the attempted insurgency, as well as for its failure to stem the spread of disinformation about the US election outcome. Google’s Twitter and YouTube also drew criticism.
Recent tensions between Apple and Facebook started last year when the iPhone maker announced it was introducing a new feature called App Tracking Transparency, which requires app developers to ask users for permission to track them in apps to create personalized ads. This move is expected to hurt Facebook’s advertising business and that of its customers.
Wednesday, Mr. Zuckerberg Apple accused on the company’s results call on analysts to exercise its “dominant position on the platform to interfere with the operation of our application and other applications.”
Meanwhile, Facebook is preparing an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and is considering whether to invite other companies to join, according to a report in The Information Thursday. A spokesperson for the social network declined to comment on the matter, but reiterated the company’s claims that Apple “behaves in an anti-competitive manner.”
Apple’s review, which reported on Wednesday record sales of $ 111 billion last quarter, also applied to Google, Snapchat and adtech industry players. Cook noted that the average smartphone app contains “an average of six trackers” to “monitor and identify users through apps, watch and record their behavior.”
He added, “Users may not know whether the apps they use to pass the time, to check in with their friends, or to find a place to eat, may in fact transmit information about the photos they have taken, people in their contact list, or location data that reflects where they eat, sleep, or pray. “
Apple’s chief global privacy officer Jane Horvath said in a separate panel that the group would like the United States to pass a federal privacy law – modeled after that of Europe. General Data Protection Regulation which entered into force in 2018.
She said the company had reached “an inflection point” where people had to decide whether trading privacy for “free” services was worth it.
“Some say advertising can suffer without all of this data,” she says. “We reject the fact that you can’t reset the privacy paradigm while still maintaining a robust advertising ecosystem.”