Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak has some advice for Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook: Stop putting money before morals

Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSteve Wozniak.
  • The Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak has some advice for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
  • He made the comments a few days before Wednesday’s bombshell New York Times report that detailed Facebook’s efforts to combat criticism and negative coverage.
  • Wozniak said Facebook should put people above technology, give users more options on how their data is used, and open itself up to competition.

Steve Wozniak doesn’t mince words when it comes to Facebook.

During interviews earlier this week with CNBC and at the CME Group’s Global Financial Leadership Conference in Naples, Florida, the Apple cofounder outlined some advice for Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.

He made the comments a few days before Wednesday’s bombshell New York Times report that detailed how Facebook has tried to combat criticism and negative coverage in the past.

In a tweet, the NBC News reporter Dylan Byers described Wozniak as saying Facebook needed to “remember that people matter more than technology and stop putting money before morals.”

And in an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, Wozniak gave some specific recommendations for and criticisms of the social-media giant, which has faced various crises in the past year.

“They won’t do one thing that will cost them a penny,” Wozniak said. “I haven’t seen one step. I’ve seen Zuckerberg talk about ‘We’ll do this,’ ‘We’ll make this open,’ ‘We’ll give you a little bit more options.’ I haven’t seen them do one real thing.”

Mark ZuckerbergPhoto by Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Wozniak added that Facebook should be clearer with its advertising policies.

“If you’re going to be on targeted advertising lists,” he said, Facebook should “give you an option to pay your way out of it, or at least say, ‘I’m on these lists’ – tell you what lists you’re on, which categories do they put you in out of the thousands of categories, and you can check or uncheck them, or you can say, ‘I don’t want to be on any targeted list at all.’ And they should not keep that sort of data just from every little post.”

Wozniak had a slightly more far-fetched idea that he acknowledged the company would likely never adopt: that Facebook should open itself up to competition by allowing users to export their data – including timelines, friends, and posts – and move it to another social-media site.

“I get sick of all executives when I hear … diverting around any real answers and issues, and even any real promises and real action that would help people,” Wozniak said. “I’m always for the end consumer – the little guy over the big, strong, powerful, wealthy company or person.”


Read more:
Mark Zuckerberg made his executives use Android phones after Tim Cook slammed Facebook’s approach to privacy

Wozniak has spoken publicly about Facebook in the past, most recently when he announced in April that he planned to quit Facebook because he didn’t think the company respected user privacy or data.

“Users provide every detail of their life to Facebook and … Facebook makes a lot of advertising money off this,” Wozniak said in an email to USA Today at the time. “The profits are all based on the user’s info, but the users get none of the profits back.”

He added: “Apple makes its money off of good products, not off of you. As they say, with Facebook, you are the product.”

Wozniak isn’t the only person related to Apple who has taken shots at Facebook while playing up Apple’s strengths in privacy.Apple CEO Tim Cook has been voicing a similar argument since 2014, and he recently asserted in an interview that he would never be in the situation Facebook and Zuckerberg are in now.

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