Apple’s Tim Cook Intensifies Conflict With Facebook By Criticising Social Media Practices

Polarisation and misinformation on social media was severely criticised by the Chief Executive Officer of Apple Inc, Tim Cook this week.

According to analysts, his comments added fuel to an already intense confrontation between the iPhone maker and the largest social media platform of the world Facebook.

According to Cook, several apps were liable to criticism because such apps gather too much personal information of users and instead prioritize “conspiracy theories and violent incitement simply because of their high rates of engagement.” Cook made these comments while speaking delivering a lecture at the Computers, Privacy and Data Protection conference earlier this week.

“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,” Cook said.

While not making any direct comments and not naming Facebook directly, it is well known that the two companies – Faecbook and Apple, are in the midst of a high profile dispute. It revolves around preparations of Apple to implement privacy notifications, which according to many analysts and experts in the digital advertising industry, will result in some users of Apple devices having the power to decline the use of their personal information such as browsing history to be used by add targeting tools.

On the other hand, Apple has been accused by Facebook of pursuing anticompetitive conduct and policies. Facebook argued that this was because of the presence of a growing catalog of paid apps on Apple platforms as well as because of the iPhone maker’s own digital advertising business.

Apple has “every incentive to use (its) dominant platform position to interfere with how our apps and other apps work”, said Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday.

Without naming Facebook, the role of the various social media platforms was criticised by Cook on Thursday and said that such platforms were engaged in undermining public trust in vaccines as well as in providing encouragement to their users to become part of  extremist groups.

“It is long past time to stop pretending that this approach doesn’t come with a cost — of polarisation, of lost trust and, yes, of violence,” Cook said. “A social dilemma cannot be allowed to become a social catastrophe.”

There were no comments available in the media from Facebook on the comments made by Cook on Thursday.

(Adapted from ChannelNewsAsia.com)

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