“We have to inflict pain” at Apple, Zuckerberg told Facebook

A new report says Mark Zuckerberg told Facebook employees “we have to do harm” at Apple in 2018.

Du Wall Street Journal:

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has complained for years that Apple and its president, Tim Cook, have had too much influence over the activities of the social media giant. In 2018, his anger worsened.

Facebook has been embroiled in a controversy over its data collection practices. Mr Cook piled up in a nationwide TV interview, saying his private company would never have found itself in such a traffic jam. Zuckerberg responded by saying that Mr. Cook’s comments were “extremely false” and “totally inconsistent with the truth”.

In secret, Zuckerberg was tougher. “We have to inflict pain,” he told his team, over his bad treatment of the company, according to people familiar with the exchange.

The report comes against the backdrop of a very public dispute between Apple and Facebook over recent changes in iOS 14 and user tracking, a move that Facebook says could destroy its advertising activity. As the report notes, the dispute appears to have continued for several years.

In 2017, the report says, Zuckerberg and Coke had a face-to-face meeting that “didn’t go well”. Zuckerberg complained about the delay in reviewing the app and believed Cook was “abrasive”. The kick came in 2018 when Cook made public comments on the Cambridge Analytica fiasco in 2018:

In early 2018, Facebook revealed that Cambridge Analytica, the company that helped Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, had misused data from the social media platform, amplifying long-standing concerns about the vast amount of information it had received and collected from users.

When asked about MSNBC what he would do if he were the CEO of Facebook, Mr. Cook replied, “I wouldn’t be in that position.”

Current and former Facebook employees said Mr Cook’s comments left many within the company feeling that Apple was unfairly picking them up, with executives complaining that Mr Cook did not differentiate their social media competitors in the same way.

The report says Facebook’s lawyers and communications officials “have discussed how to raise antitrust concerns about Apple through lobbying groups, regulatory agencies, or an antitrust lawsuit.”

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Facebook argues that personalized ads and user privacy could co-exist, pointing out in an email to the companies earlier this year. Facebook says it has no choice but to offer a new activation prompt to notify users before agreeing to be tracked across apps and devices with an IDFA number.

The report strongly echoes the report released earlier this week alleging that Epic Games’ similar frustrations with Apple lasted nearly three years and that the company spent months planning the antitrust lawsuit against the company.

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