Apple CEO Tim Cook Rips Facebook: 'Privacy Is a Human Right'

Apple CEO Tim Cook broke from Silicon Valley protocol when he criticized Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook (FB) in unusually blunt terms over its privacy flap. Cook highlighted how Apple considers privacy as "one of the draws of being in the Apple ecosystem", claiming that Apple "could make a ton of money if we monetized our customers" but the company has elected against it.

Tim Cook says Apple doesn't treat its customers as a product like Facebook does.

Apple is still a hardware company that makes the bulk of its revenues from devices, while Facebook nearly exclusively relies on advertising to make money, which requires extensive user data to fine-tune targeting. "I think it's - privacy to us is a human right", he said. "However, I think we're beyond that", Cook continued.

When asked what would he do if he were Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg?

Facebook has been embroiled in a scandal since it became public earlier this month that the political data firm Cambridge Analytica, which has ties to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, stole data from 50 million users by abusing Facebook's tools.

The Federal Trade Commission could potentially fine Facebook up to $40,000 per violation, per day.

In January, the technology giant announced plans to plough $350 billion into the United States in the coming years.

When asked specifically about the potential regulation of tech companies that are collecting and using consumer data, sometimes without a clear explanation of what that data is being used for, Cook said he's "personally not a fan of regulation".

Cook has been vocal for many years about the issues within the data monetisation space, describing certain platforms as "gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetise it".

"We have a deep sense of responsibility to give back to our country and the people who help make our success possible".

Cook said it's time for regulators to step in, although he believes Facebook had a chance to avoid that. He compared the App Store to "the corner store".

  • Joey Payne