Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak calls TikTok ban ‘hypocrisy’


Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak calls TikTok ban 'hypocrisy'
The Woz calls out U.S. politicians for a proposed TikTok ban.
Photo: Paweł Piotrowski

The U.S. move toward banning the hugely popular TikTok video service is “hypocrisy.” That’s the opinion of Steve Wozniak, a co-founder of Apple.

He sees no difference between a Chinese company tracking users and U.S. companies doing the same thing.

Proposed TiKTok ban ignores that Facebook and Google also track users

In mid-March, the U.S. House of Representatives resoundingly approved a bill that would essentially ban TikTok in the United States if the Chinese company ByteDance didn’t sell the service.

When CNN asked Wozniak to weigh in on the proposed ban, the tech pioneer pointed out that ByteDance’s practice of tracking users is no different from what U.S.-based social media and search engine companies already do.

“Tracking you is questionable, but my gosh, look at what we’re accusing TikTok of, and then go look at Facebook and Google and that’s how they make their businesses,” said Wozniak. “We’re saying, ‘Oh, you might be tracked by the Chinese.’ Well, they learned it from us.”

Rules should apply to everyone

Wozniak objects to apps and websites tracking users without their knowledge. But one company shouldn’t be singled out for tracking when all others get a pass.

“If you have a principal: a person should not be tracked without them knowing it. You apply it the same to every company or every country,” said the former Apple exec. “You don’t say here’s one case where we’re going to outlaw an app, but we’re not going to do it in these other cases.”

He summed up by saying, “I don’t like the hypocrisy.”

Woz is still going

The Woz is now 73 but not really retired from a career that included co-founding Apple with Steve Jobs in 1977. He helped found the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 1990.

And he still comments on significant tech developments. He was one of the big names that suggested a pause in AI research last year, for example.


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