Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg enters the ring in data privacy bout with Tim Cook

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Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg has defended the social network against comments made by Apple CEO Tim Cook about the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Sheryl Sandberg


Asked about Cook's comments during an on-stage interview at Recode's Code Conference, Sandberg suggests the statements were made because Cook and Apple believe they are important to say, adding "They have a product they feel strongly about."

"It won't shock you to know that Mark (Zuckerberg) and I strongly disagree with their characterization of our product," Sandberg insisted. "We're proud of the business model we've built. We have an ad-supported business that allows people all around the world to the product for free, and if you're trying to connect the whole world, that's pretty important. So we respectfully disagree."

Sandberg was interviewed with Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer, who wanted more time to be spent discussing the substance of the issues. "There's times when you can get nice quippy soundbites and kick someone when it's popular and they're down." the CTO admits. "That's us right now, I get it, and we in many ways deserve it."

Schroepfer moved to highlight the problem with trade-offs between business models in building a service, one that is intended to be used by the whole world, in justifying the ad-based approach. "Can every consumer afford a $10 a month subscription, or a $700 device? For billions of people around the world, no. Not yet."

In March's China Development Forum, shortly after the Cambridge Analytica revelations that Facebook user data was being acquired and misused in political analysis, Tim Cook suggested the situation had become dire and large enough to warrant some "well-crafted regulation."

"The ability of anyone to know what you've been browsing about for years, who your contacts are, who their contacts are, things you like and dislike, and every intimate detail of your life - from my own point of view it shouldn't exist," said Cook.

The suggestion of regulatory intervention resurfaced a few days later in a televised interview, with Cook musing that, while he thinks "the best regulation is no regulation, is self-regulation," it is possibly beyond that point now. Cook also said it would have been better for the tech industry as a whole if Facebook controlled the use of data "patched together from several sources."

Cook also highlighted Apple's avoidance of ad-based models, such as the one employed by Facebook. "The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer - if the customer was our product. We've elected not to do that."

Sandberg's defense of Facebook echoes comments made by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in April, but in a softer form.

In the interview, Zuckerberg attacked Cook's sentiment by declaring "I find that argument, that if you're not paying that somehow we can't care about you, to be extremely glib, and not at all aligned with the truth." Zuckerberg went on to defend the ad-based model to help connect the world's citizens, and that it was the "only rational model" to reach those who couldn't afford to pay.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    ericthehalfbeeericthehalfbee Posts: 3,439member
    Keep pumping out that spin. 
    StrangeDaysjuanguapocecil444boogerman2000magman1979pscooter63lostkiwijony0lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 26
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 4,787member
    “But it’s FREE!” ...so nothing else matters. Right?
    cecil444chabigboogerman2000racerhomie3magman1979pscooter63lostkiwijony0lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 26
    juanguapojuanguapo Posts: 61member
    I'm reminded of an old, old Robin Williams joke about cocaine...
    "It's called "free basing"....wait, it costs you your house, it should be called "home basing."
    king editor the gratechabigMacProboogerman2000racerhomie3magman1979jony0lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 26
    nunzynunzy Posts: 332member
    Facebook is immoral, but Apple is not.
    chabigMacProboogerman2000racerhomie3magman1979macseekerlostkiwitoysandmeols
  • Reply 5 of 26
    Facebook, like Google and the other so called Social Media sites are just in it for your data. The services that they provide is an incidental. It might not have been at first but it clearly is the reason for them to exist at the moment.
    I'm not on FB, Google or any other anti-social media platform. I never saw the need but I'm not a Millenial or a hipster and would go as far as saying that I'm pretty uncool. I avoid fashion trends like the plague.
    They (FB etc) aren't for me but I've seen the damage that abuse of people on those platforms can do.
    IMHO, the world would be a better place if they ceased to exist tomorrow.
    YMMV.

    chabigrob53racerhomie3magman1979macseekerjony0toysandmelolliverwatto_cobraols
  • Reply 6 of 26
    adm1adm1 Posts: 808member
    if Facebook really believes this, then introduce a paid-subscription tier that collect ZERO information on the user... oh wait, the whole thing is solely based on user data. 
    cecil444chabigchiaboogerman2000Doodpantsracerhomie3magman1979pscooter63lostkiwijony0
  • Reply 7 of 26
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,143member
    We have an ad-supported business that allows people all around the world to the product for free, and if you're trying to connect the whole world, that's pretty important.
    Okay. Tell me, WHY are you trying to connect the whole world? Why does this need to be done?
    "Can every consumer afford a $10 a month subscription, or a $700 device? For billions of people around the world, no. Not yet.
    [the ad-based model] was the “only rational model” to reach those who couldn’t afford to pay.
    PLEASE, facebook. PLEASE go to a subscription model. PLEASE kill yourselves overnight.

    chabigmagman1979macseekerpscooter63perpetual3toysandmelolliverwatto_cobraols
  • Reply 8 of 26
    rayjan29rayjan29 Posts: 3member
    I think the issue is not the business model, it's just Facebook's diversion. The issue was, "who are you dealing with through your business model?
    tallest skilperpetual3watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 26
    rayjan29rayjan29 Posts: 3member
    We have an ad-supported business that allows people all around the world to the product for free, and if you're trying to connect the whole world, that's pretty important.
    Okay. Tell me, WHY are you trying to connect the whole world? Why does this need to be done?
    "Can every consumer afford a $10 a month subscription, or a $700 device? For billions of people around the world, no. Not yet.
    [the ad-based model] was the “only rational model” to reach those who couldn’t afford to pay.
    PLEASE, facebook. PLEASE go to a subscription model. PLEASE kill yourselves overnight.

    No problem with the ad-based model, the problem was their greed that even for political purposes they've allowed users data to be used.
    jony0watto_cobraols
  • Reply 10 of 26
    leicamanleicaman Posts: 9member
    Yeah, like she has any credibility.
    toysandmelolliverwatto_cobraols
  • Reply 11 of 26
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,291member
    Future WH Press Secretary maybe?
    rob53magman1979lostkiwitoysandmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 26
    We have an ad-supported business that allows people all around the world to the product for free, and if you're trying to connect the whole world, that's pretty important.
    Okay. Tell me, WHY are you trying to connect the whole world? Why does this need to be done?
    "Can every consumer afford a $10 a month subscription, or a $700 device? For billions of people around the world, no. Not yet.
    [the ad-based model] was the “only rational model” to reach those who couldn’t afford to pay.
    PLEASE, facebook. PLEASE go to a subscription model. PLEASE kill yourselves overnight.

    I dislike Facebook as much as the next guy but I believe the answer to your question is clearly "why not?". If there is demand for the service, Facebook will fulfill it. People are social creatures and want to see what their family, friends, and it makes me gag to say it, celebrities, are up to. If you follow your same logic to its conclusion, why does the iPhone need to exist? People want to talk on a phone, read the news, cat videos, banking apps, games? Why? Who cares, that's just what people want.
    muthuk_vanalingamjony0
  • Reply 13 of 26
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 682member
    Oh I love this spin that FB is benefiting the global poor.  It’s funny how some companies hide behind PR spin.

    The reality is that FB is not a benefit to the poor in that their cheap business model often sparks internicine conflict.  The reality is that the information they peddle is not adequately monitored.

    Tell that to the poor victims of mob violence in Sri Lanka.

    In Sri Lanka, Facebook Contends With Shutdown After Mob Violence:

    https://nyti.ms/2G9E800?smid=nytcore-ios-share

    Maybe your services shouldn’t be free FaceBook.  Maybe they should spend some effort patrolling the sewage they channel.

    Oh wait that would cut into their profits.

    Give me a break.  Mind your own business Ms. Sandberg.
    racerhomie3magman1979lostkiwiStrangeDayswatto_cobraols
  • Reply 14 of 26
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,101member
    The difference here: The users (not consumer since they do not buy anything) and their information is the product for the customer of Facebook,  Consumer is the customer to Apple products. Apples customer's personal information only has value to Apple and to no one else. Apple sharing what they know about their customer would only help Apple competitors. This simple fact is why Apple values customer data and protect is better than a companies like Facebook.

    Facebook caring about privacy of user information is due to the fact the data is the product and without data they do not have a product to sell to Facebook customers. If Facebook loses users over the perception they do not care about privacy it is going to cost them lots of money.

    Apple not protecting personal information means they too could loose money but to their competitors
    edited May 30 watto_cobraols
  • Reply 15 of 26
    eeeeyuck..Liar. Zuckerberg and Sanberg operate in deceit..duplicity. platform of connectivity... and a goliath and transformative invasion and dismantling of personal sovereignty..a paradigm shift in human behavior.. for the better?? Gross. 
    lostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 26
    racerhomie3racerhomie3 Posts: 530member
    Facebook really thinks we are that dumb. Yes ,Mr Zuckerberg, companies that make good money from hardware (eg. Apple) are more likely to protect your privacy & data.
    Your literal business model is built on exploiting your user’s data.

    edited May 30 magman1979lostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 26
    racerhomie3racerhomie3 Posts: 530member
    She has got that pretty face and she spins it well. But still , hopefully people realize that their time is better spent on real life & productive things.
    magman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 26
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,386member
    I have nothing against an ad model for Google, Facebook or other business of that type. It’s foolish to think they can survive without it.

    but they can do that without all the snooping they do. In the beginning of the internet, it was almost impossible to get ads, because there weren’t enough people on the internet then. So first they tried those very annoying ads, and people became furious over them, so they cut back.  They found that people didn’t mind being tracked as long as they didn’t notice it.

     their snooping got worse, to the point where people do mind it, and it’s becoming a security risk as well.

    now though, where internet ads are well established as the majority of ad income, they could, if they wanted to, drop most of the snooping.  No company is going to stop advertising on the internet these days.

    whats stopping that is simply greed, which is why Google, Facebook and others not only continue the practice, but are coming up with ways to gather even more of our life into their hands.
    edited May 30 pscooter63muthuk_vanalingamlostkiwijony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 26
    boboliciousbobolicious Posts: 347member
    "Cook also highlighted Apple's avoidance of ad-based models, such as the one employed by Facebook. "The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer - if the customer was our product. We've elected not to do that"

    I keep hoping this never becomes a Trojan Horse...

    Why does Photos tagging have no user configurable off setting ?
  • Reply 20 of 26
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,573member
    Advertisers will go where the eyeballs are.  People do not go to Facebook because they are lured by Facebook's finely targeted advertising built on the tons of information they collect about FB users (and non-users too!).  So will advertisers stop posting ads on FB if the two Bergs suddenly declare "Okay, no more finely targeted ads"?  No of course not. As long as the eyeballs are still there, advertisers will flock to Facebook.  But of course, without the fine-tuning that a mountain of data about users allows, Facebook can't charge as much for ads.  Instead of making 2 gazillion in profits, they'll only make 1 gazillion.  It's a clear cut case of greed getting in the way of ethics.  Since its inception, even after hiring Ms. Sandberg to be the supposed 'adult in the room', Facebook remains a company that has no moral compass.  Although it has become a little better at sounding as if it does.
    edited May 30 watto_cobra
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