Tim Cook is angry. Watch him blast Facebook (video)

“If a business is built on misleading users, on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all, it does not deserve our praise.”

From CNBC’s “Apple CEO links Facebook’s business model to real-world violence” posted Thursday:

Apple CEO Tim Cook on Thursday linked Facebook’s business model using data to serve targeted ads with real-world consequences, such as violence or reducing public trust in vaccines.

Cook’s speech, at a data privacy conference in Brussels, did not mention Facebook by name, but the social media company was clearly a target of the Apple CEO’s warning.

“If a business is built on misleading users, on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all, it does not deserve our praise. It deserves reform,” Cook said.

Cook also criticized recommendation algorithms that suggest extremist groups to users, as Facebook has been under fire for doing. On Wednesday, Facebook said it would stop automatically recommending political groups permanently.

Cook also said that he believes that some companies reward content that could undermine public trust in vaccinations to boost engagement.

“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 and the longer the better,” Cook said.

Cue the video (Cook starts at the 3:50 minute mark):

My take: Things are getting real. Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg is whining about a bump in the road in Facebook’s advertising juggernaut.


  1. Apple rallied nearly 21% over the past 3 months. FB lost 4%. Personally can’t wait to say No to the new cross-site tracking prompt. I tolerate Facebook to keep up on a large family & local events but venture no further into FB’s curated hell.

    January 28, 2021
    • Bart Yee said:
      Agree, I provide minimal info, not even a photo, to FB. I don’t click on any of their ads, in fact flag ads I don’t care for, and provide little other incentive for them. The little FB stock I own is just about ready to be converted to AAPL. I’ll sleep better doing that.

      January 29, 2021
  2. Fred Stein said:
    Yup, Joseph, upvoted

    Yesterday, Tim validated our financial decisions to remain long Apple.

    Today, he validated our decisions, morally.

    And it’s finally raining here in California.

    January 28, 2021
  3. David Emery said:
    PED, I have a comment (with a transcript on Cook’s remarks) awaiting moderation.

    January 28, 2021
  4. Michael Goldfeder said:
    Tim Cook has been at the forefront of privacy and it’s the cornerstone of Apple. Zuckerberg ought to keep his mouth shut and not take on Apple in this area. Watch the revenue of Facebook begin to take a substantial hit once the new iOS is released that allows individuals to “opt out” of these targeted ads.

    In some ways this situation is reminiscent of college athletes who filed a lawsuit to gain some of the revenue that the NCAA was deriving by using their likeness and selling it to major game distributors like Madden EA and others. Now the athletes are able to benefit from that revenue stream.

    What if Facebook is required to share ad revenue with their users who agree to forego their privacy and “opt in?” It only seems fair given that their personal information is being used to monetize revenue solely for Facebook.

    Tim Cook will be happy to put Facebook in a financial bind by using their own revenue blueprint against them with the privacy “opt in” question. Zuckerberg, IMO has made a huge tactical decision getting on the wrong side of Tim Cook in this situation. His snide remarks in his earnings call about Apple will come back to haunt him in ways he never imagined.

    One of the qualities I really appreciate about Tim Cook is his unrelenting resolve to stand up for the ideals of Apple and not take any crap from anyone. The EU. Mark Zuckerberg. Or Qualcomm. To name but a few.

    January 29, 2021

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