Tim Cook talks Facebook versus Sign in with Apple in new interview

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Sign in with Apple
"Sign in with Apple" is a new privacy feature in iOS 13.
Photo: Alfred Ng

Sign in with Apple might be the most underrated feature to come out of the WWDC 2019 keynote. A lot of analysts, including Cult of Mac founder Leander Kahkney, think it’s a big shot at Facebook. The social media giant has become one of the iPhone-maker’s favorite companies to hate on recently, but Apple CEO Tim Cook says the new feature isn’t targeting Facebook.

“You know, we’re not really taking a shot at anybody,” said Tim Cook in an interview with CNBC after the keynote. “We focus on the user. And the user wants the ability to go across numerous properties on the web without being under surveillance. We’re moving privacy protections forward. And I actually think it’s a very reasonable request for people to make.”

As part of the upcoming iOS 13 update, Sign in with Apple makes it possible to sign into services that would normally require you to use Facebook or Google to sign in. The benefit of using Sign in with Apple is none of your personal information gets shared and it’s impossible for services to spam your email address.

Any app that lets you log in with Facebook or Google will be required to offer Sign in with Apple. It’s a huge flex by Apple and could cause some people to delete Facebook if they only use it for login purposes.

Mark Zuckerberg recently promised a privacy-focused vision for Facebook. This comes after the social network found itself embroiled in numerous privacy-focused scandals. Cook told CNBC that people are finally getting clued in on how they’re being taken advantage of when it comes to their data.

“Many people are getting more offended. I think this is good. Because we need to shine a light on it,” said Cook. “You can imagine an environment where everyone begins to think there’s no privacy. And if there’s no privacy, your freedom of expression just plummets. Because now you’re going to be thinking about how everybody’s going know every single thing you’re doing. This is not good for our country, not good for democracy.”