Apple CEO Tim Cook hit out at companies like Facebook again: Anything that collects personal data and uses it against customers ‘should not exist’

VCG/VCG via Getty ImagesTim Cook, CEO of Apple, which held its annual shareholder meeting in Cupertino on Friday.
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook seemed to hit out at Facebook again on Friday, saying that no one should be allowed to create detailed dossiers on users and then use that personal data against them.
  • Speaking at the company’s annual meeting, Cook called for regulation and said such practices “should not exist.”
  • Cook has repeatedly criticised Facebook in the past.

CUPERTINO, California – Apple CEO Tim Cook amped up his criticism of Facebook on Friday, saying that no one should be allowed to collect detailed information on people and use that information against them.

Responding to a question at its annual shareholder meeting here about how the company views privacy, Cook warned about “someone” assembling detailed dossiers on just about everyone and using that information to “pit one group against the other.”

“The idea that someone has built this enormous, detailed profile of you and of everybody in this room and then takes that detailed profile to … stir the pot, this is offensive to us,” Cook said, adding, “We think that’s it’s just wrong to do, and it should not exist.”

Cook didn’t mention Facebook by name, but the implication was clear. Facebook’s service has been hijacked repeatedly to spread divisive propaganda, not only during the 2016 presidential campaign, but also in Myanmar against the Rohingya minority group. Critics have also charged that Facebook’s algorithms have served to amplify disagreements and disunity by promoting emotionally charged and divisive posts.

Cook called again for new privacy regulations

Apple’s CEO also prefaced his statement by saying that “we don’t have to look very far” to see the dangers of a world in which everything people do online is tracked and monitored. Facebook is headquarteredin Menlo Park, California, which is just up the road from Apple’s headquarters, As he’s done before, Cook called for new regulations to protect privacy and govern data collection by Facebook and other companies.

“We think regulation is necessary in this case,” he said. “I’m a big believer in the free market, but I’m also a big believer in looking in the mirror and admitting when it’s not working. And it is not working.”

Cook has tried to position Apple as a defender of privacy. He’s repeatedly criticised the data collection practices, particularly Facebook in the wake of last year’s Cambridge Analytica scandal. Last month, Apple turned off Facebook’s internal iPhone apps in response to reports that it was go around the iPhone maker’s policies to track users phone activities.

He’s also repeatedly emphasised the privacy protections Apple’s devices, software, and services offer users.

But Apple benefits in multiple ways from companies whose business models are more dependent data collection. It receives billions of dollars each year from Google to ensure that the latter’s search engine is the default on the iPhone. What’s more, Facebook’s assortment of apps are among the most popular on Apple’s devices.

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