In recent months, Facebook and Apple have been locked in a war of words over an upcoming privacy change to Apple’s app store. The new feature, called App Tracking Transparency, will, in Apple’s words, “require apps to get the user’s permission before tracking their data across apps or websites owned by other companies.” This is undoubtedly a good thing for user privacy. However, it could be a very bad thing for Facebook’s revenue.
That’s why the social media giant has come out so strongly against the change, publishing full-page newspaper editorials and trying to convince advertisers to see its point of view. However, Apple hasn’t taken these provocations sitting down. This week Apple CEO Tim Cook delivered a scathing rebuke of Facebook’s own privacy and data practices in a speech where he didn’t even call out the company by name.
“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 in his keynote speech at a data privacy conference. “At a moment of rampant disinformation and conspiracy theories juiced by algorithms, we can no longer turn a blind eye to a theory of technology that says all engagement is good engagement—the longer the better—and all with the goal of collecting as much data as possible.”
Of course, Apple collects plenty of user data, too, so it’s not as if Facebook’s rival is completely innocent. However, it has certainly approached the issue more delicately (and with greater respect for users) than Facebook ever has.
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