Facebook’s spat with Apple keeps getting uglier

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Facebook’s spat with Apple keeps getting uglier
Facebook continues to attack Apple, with the social-networking giant accusing Apple of unfair business practices.
Photo: PxHere

The war of words between Facebook and Apple heated up further on Wednesday, with the Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stating, “we increasingly see Apple as one of our biggest competitors.” And the rivalry between the might be headed to court, with the social-networking giant accusing Apple of using the App Store to disadvantage rivals.

Apple and Facebook compete in messaging apps

The iPhone-maker doesn’t have a social-networking service, so at first glance it might be hard to see how the two could be direct competitors. But there is iMessage, which goes head-to-head with Facebook’s WhatsApp.

Apple has stepped up its requirements that third-party applications inform users how they are being tracked. The Facebook CEO used his company’s quarterly earnings call to question Apple’s claims that iMessage is secure. He pointed out that users can store copies of their messages on iCloud, which Zuckerberg calls “non-end-to-end encrypted backups.” He therefore claims WahatsApp is actually more privacy-focused than iMessage.

Possibly headed to court

Facebook might take its disagreement with Apple out of the court of public opinion and to the court of law. It’s reportedly considering turning its complaints into a lawsuit.

“With the aid of outside legal counsel, Facebook for months has been preparing an antitrust lawsuit against Apple that would allege the iPhone-maker abused its power in the smartphone market by forcing app developers to abide by App Store rules that Apple’s own apps don’t have to follow,” reports The Information.

If it happens, the lawsuit will likely be similar to one already brought by Fortnite-maker Epic Games.

Very different approaches to user privacy

Zuckerberg also complained Wednesday about Apple’s requirement that iPhone developers file details about their apps’ privacy and data policies which are then compiled into “nutrition labels” in the App Store. Facebook previously objected very publicly about an upcoming policy that’ll require iPhone applications to explicitly ask users if the app can track their online activity.

Apple, on the other hand, views privacy as a “fundamental human right.” That puts it at odds with Facebook, whose business model is building profiles of the personal details of users and then selling that information to advertisers.

CEO Tim Cook spoke remotely at the CPDP 2021 Conference on Thursday, and nearly his entire speech was at attack on Facebook’s business model, though he never used that company’s name. He said, in part, “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.”

Watch Cook’s entire address to the conference: