- Apple CEO Tim Cook made a dig at Facebook and other algorithm-based news services in an interview with CBS News that aired this week.
- “I worry that fake news is not under control,” Cook told CBS. “We’re on the user’s side in trying to prevent fake news.”
- Cook’s history of taking jabs at Facebook goes back years. “You’re not the customer – you’re the product,” he said in 2014.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
“We’re on the user’s side in privacy. We’re on the user’s side in trying to prevent fake news,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told CBS News in a new interview.
Cook was speaking to Apple’s commitment to user privacy – something the company has gone so far as to turn into a marketing bullet point in the era of privacy worries – and he was also speaking to the controversy over the 2016 US presidential election.
Facebook notoriously failed to protect users from a flood of misinformation masked on its platform as “news” during the election cycle. The company has also repeatedly lost or given away user information.
Asked about Facebook’s role in the election, Cook referred broadly to “any kind of property that pushes news in a way that’s not curated” as potentially problematic. “I don’t really believe personally that AI has the power today to differentiate between what is fake and what is not,” he said. “So I worry about any property today that pushes news in a feed.”
Of course, Cook has an interest in criticising Facebook’s role as a news distributor. Apple’s news service, Apple News, uses human curation rather than algorithms. In March, Apple launched Apple News Plus, a $US9.99-a-month subscription service that includes content from 300 publications.
“We curate, and we’ve always done that,” Cook said. “We’re not an amplifier for fake news or pitting groups against one another, or having porn or all this other kind of stuff. This is not what we’re about and we’ve never been about that.”
It was far from Cook’s first time taking shots at Facebook and its business model.
Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and the companies they run have even put the beef into official company language. “Tim Cook has consistently criticised our business model and Mark has been equally clear he disagrees,” a Facebook blog post from November said.
Facebook even went as far as to officially acknowledge steering its employees away from Apple mobile devices. “We’ve long encouraged our employees and executives to use Android because it is the most popular operating system in the world,” the blog post said.
Going back even further, Cook was disparaging Facebook’s business model way back in 2014. “When an online service is free, you’re not the customer – you’re the product,” Cook said at the time.
As such, Cook’s sentiments to CBS News are nothing new – they’re just the latest example of a feud between two powerful and competing executives going back over half a decade.
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Check out the full clip from CBS News right here:
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