Apple’s Tim Cook Keeps Criticizing Facebook

Left: (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) Right: (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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Apple CEO Tim Cook took multiple swipes at Facebook on Monday over apparent differences in company practices, as the head of the smartphone manufacturing giant seems committed in trying to keep the negative attention on its Silicon Valley rival.

While not in the same exact realm of business, Cook apparently seems to think the two tech giants as competitive enough to openly share his criticism — either that or he sees it as his duty to express his thoughts. He said that Facebook’s data collection actions, which has gotten it in trouble recently, are so beyond Apple’s domain. But his company was recently accused in a New York Times report of coordinating with Facebook for data-sharing initiatives.

“The things mentioned in the Times article about relationship statuses and all these kinds of stuff, this is so foreign to us, and not data that we have ever received at all or requested — zero,” Cook told NPR in response. “What we did was we integrated the ability to share in the operating system, make it simple to share a photo and that sort of thing,” he continued, echoing similar sentiments of others in the industry who argue that information sharing makes services better.

“So it’s a convenience for the user. We weren’t in the data business. We’ve never been in the data business.”

Apple’s fundamental business structure isn’t dependent on advertising — which benefits from the targeting of users’ personal traits and tendencies — like Facebook. Still, Apple is faced with plenty of other ethical questions, like how it deals with authoritarian foreign governments in the name of profit. (RELATED: Rubio Grills Apple For Allegedly Sucking Up To China)

Perhaps in an attempt to pull the limelight further away from itself, Apple’s Cook is using large portions of the public’s problems with Facebook as an opportunity to convey customer care.

“I think that the privacy thing has gotten totally out of control and I think most people are not aware of who is tracking them, how much they’re being tracked and the large amounts of detailed data that are out there about them,” Cook told CNN. “We think privacy is a fundamental human right.”

The corporate leader didn’t call out Facebook by name, but it plays off of not-so-distant comments he made in March in which he directly addressed the state of affairs Facebook was in with regards to backlash it received about allegedly not caring about protecting user data.

“I wouldn’t be in this situation,” Cook said to Recode‘s Kara Swisher after he was asked what he would do if he was in Zuckerberg’s shoes.

Zuckerberg responded not long after, arguing “if you want to build a service which is not just serving rich people, then you need to have something people can afford.”

“I find that argument, that if you’re not paying that somehow we can’t care about you, to be extremely glib. And not at all aligned with the truth,” Zuckerberg said, referencing Cook’s claims that since Apple’s products aren’t free and makes money off of devices and other services, it doesn’t get involved in breaching customers’ privacy expectations.

“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,” Zuckerberg continued in the Vox podcast. “Because that sounds ridiculous to me.”

As Facebook’s been thrusted even more into the glare of publicity in recent months, Zuckerberg hasn’t been afraid to defend himself, and take some shots as well. Now, it seems that Cook is one of Zuckerberg’s latest adversaries as the Apple chief doesn’t appear too shy from delving into the some of the most ostensibly pressing debates within the tech industry.

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