Facebook questions Apple's iOS14 privacy tweaks
First Published Jan 28, 2021, 8:27 AM IST
In the spotlight over privacy concerns with its new WhatsApp policy updates, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has now dragged in iPhone maker Apple and questioned the privacy changes being rolled out with iOS14. He also called Apple one of Facebook's biggest competitors.
Addressing an investor call on Q4 2020 earnings, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg underscored that the social network increasingly sees Apple as one of its biggest competitors.
Zuckerberg said, "We have a lot of competitors who make claims about privacy that are often misleading. Apple recently released so-called nutrition labels which focus largely on metadata apps collect rather than the privacy and security of people's actual messages. But iMessage stores non-end-to-end encrypted backups of your messages by default unless you disable iCloud, so Apple and governments have the ability to access most people's messages. So when it comes to what matters most -- protecting people's messages, I think that WhatsApp is clearly superior."
"Since I try to use these earnings calls to discuss aspects of business strategy that I think are important for investors to understand, I do want to highlight that we increasingly see Apple as one of our biggest competitors," Zuckerberg said.
Detailing how iMessage is a key linchpin of Apple's ecosystem, the Facebook chief said, "It comes pre-installed on every iPhone and they have preferenced it with private APIs and permissions, which is why iMessage is the most used messaging service in the US. And now, we are also seeing Apple's business depend more and more on gaining share in services against us and other developers."
"Apple has every incentive to use their dominant platform position to interfere with how our apps and other apps work, which they regularly do to preference their own. This impacts the growth of millions of businesses around the world, including with the upcoming iOS14 changes, many small businesses will no longer be able to reach their
customers with targeted ads," the Facebook chief said.
"Apple may say that they're doing this to help people, but the moves clearly track their competitive interests. I think this dynamic is important for people to understand because we and others are going to be up against this for the foreseeable future," he added.
Zuckerberg also tried to clear doubts with regard to the new WhatsApp privacy update.
He said, "To clarify some confusion that we have seen, this update does not change the privacy of anyone's messages with friends and family. All of these messages are end-to-end encrypted, which means we can't see or hear what you say, and we never will unless the person you messaged chooses to share it."
"And business messages will only be hosted on our infrastructure if the business chooses to do so. We want everyone to know the lengths we go to protect your private messages, so we're moving the date of this update back to give everyone time to understand what the update means."