In efforts to contain and suppress fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal earlier this year, Facebook went on the offensive and attacked critics of the company's privacy practices. One of the social network's targets, according to a new report, was Apple and its CEO Tim Cook.
Outlined in an exhaustive report by The New York Times that focuses primarily on Facebook's internal and external responses to revelations that the social network was compromised, and private user data leveraged to sway political sentiment, are a few interesting tidbits on how Zuckerberg and company lashed out against Apple through smear campaigns and shady tactics.
What initially got under Zuckerberg's skin was Cook's public comments during a joint MSNBC and Recode interview following Apple's education event last spring. Cambridge Analytica was a hot topic at the time, with the now defunct analytics firm's data harvesting operation having been disclosed to Facebook users just weeks prior. As expected, Cook, a stanch proponent of data privacy, was asked to chime in on the subject.
"We're not going to traffic in your personal life. Privacy to us is a human right," Cook said, adding, "It's a civil liberty."
The comments reportedly "infuriated" Zuckerberg, who ordered his managerial team to cease using iPhones in favor of Android, citing the larger install base of Android as his reasoning.
Publicly, Facebook also took swings at Apple. They hired Definers Public Affairs out of Washington that applied political campaign strategies to corporate PR. Definers helped push negative content about competitors while peddling positive content about Facebook in a bid to turn public opinion.
Conservative news site NTK Network, an affiliate of Definers, published a series of articles condemning Apple and Google for disreputable business practices. Several Apple-focused pieces took the company to task for being hypocritical in calling out Facebook while collecting user data of its own.
Many stories coming out of NTK are written by Definers' staff members. The Times credited Facebook being upset at Apple as the motive behind these lashings.