Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly told his team to ‘inflict pain’ on Apple, after Apple’s CEO Tim Cook’s negative comments over Facebook’s data collection practices in 2018, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke with the Wall Street Journal.
Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook reportedly had a personal meeting in 2017, where the Facebook CEO complained about app-review delays and other problems between Apple and Facebook. The meeting didn’t go well and Zuckerberg thought Cook was unwilling and ‘abrasive’, the sources said.
In 2018 when Facebook revealed the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Tim Cook joined an interview on national TV where he was asked what he would do in Facebook’s situation. “I wouldn’t be in this situation”, the Apple CEO replied.
After the interview, Zuckerberg said his comments were ‘’extremely glib’’ and ‘’not at all aligned with the truth.’’ According to the people who spoke with the WSJ anonymously, Facebook CEO said ”We need to inflict pain” to his team.
The long-lasting tension between tech giants Facebook and Apple has peaked especially after Facebook began publicly protesting Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature, which Apple recently announced that will roll out in early spring, and accusing Apple of hurting small businesses.
Apple’s upcoming privacy feature will require apps including Facebook to obtain permission from users to continue tracking their user data. In December, Apple threatened to remove apps from the App Store if they don’t comply with the feature. The company also updated its App Store Approval Guide adding the new requirement.
In December, Facebook ran full-page newspaper ads in various world-famous newspapers against Apple’s privacy feature. It also shared blog posts and created a web page named Speak Up For Small Business: Impact Of Apple’s Latest Update where small business owners talk about their concerns over how Apple’s update will affect them. The social media giant also started showing users a prompt to convince them to allow ad tracking on their iOS devices.
Facebook spokesperson Dani Lever told the WSJ that the choice between user privacy and personalized ads is a ‘false trade-off’, adding that Facebook can provide them both. “This is not about two companies. This is about the future of the free internet. Apple claims this is about privacy, but it’s about profit, and we’re joining others to point out their self-preferencing, anticompetitive behavior,” she said.
Last month, during Facebook’s fourth quarter earnings call, Zuckerberg said that they are increasingly seeing Apple as one of their biggest competitors. “Apple has every incentive to use their dominant platform position to interfere with how our apps and other apps work, which they regularly do. They say they are doing this to help people, but the moves clearly track their competitive interests,” he added.
In the following days, Apple CEO Tim Cook criticized Facebook’s business model, without naming Facebook, during his speech at the Computers, Privacy, and Data Protection conference. “If a business is built on misleading users, on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all, then it does not deserve our praise—it deserves reform,” Cook said.