Facebook VP Nick Clegg attacks Apple over privacy criticism

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Facebook vice president of global affairs has attacked Apple in the ongoing feud between the two tech titans over user data privacy, accusing the iPhone maker of being elitist while defending the social networking site's advertising-based model as a way to make it available to everyone.

Former Liberal Democrats leader and deputy prime minster Nick Clegg, now Facebook VP of global affairs
Former deputy prime minster Nick Clegg, now Facebook VP of global affairs [via libdems.org.uk]


The underlying philosophy behind the business models of Facebook and Apple was raised by Clegg on stage in Germany. In a prepared speech, Clegg took time to speak against some of the criticism Apple offers against advertising-supported services, amid other comments about regulation and government intervention.

"Facebook is free - it's for everyone," the former UK deputy prime minister told the audience, reports Business Insider. "Some other big tech companies make their money by selling expensive hardware or subscription services, or in some cases both, to consumers in developed, wealthier economies."

Clegg continued "They are an exclusive club, available only to aspirant consumers with the means to buy high-value hardware and services."

The comments are an unsubtle dig at Apple, which sells the premium-priced iPhone and other hardware generally at a higher cost than competing products. The comparison does break down slightly due to Facebook's consumer hardware largely consists of the costly Oculus Rift and the not-cheap $199 Oculus Go VR headsets, or the fact that Facebook users need some sort of communications device to access the service in the first place, an item that can be expensive in some parts of the world.

Clegg goes on to frame Facebook as a service available to all users. "There's no exclusivity at Facebook. No VIP access. No business class."

"Our services are as accessible to students in Guatemala, cattle farmers in the mid-west United States, office workers in Mumbai, tech startups in Nairobi, or taxi drivers in Berlin." Clegg then boasted "More than 2 billion people use our platforms - because they can."

Clegg's comments follow a week after Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke at a Stanford University Commencement event to warn about the threat of corporate and government surveillance, calling the widespread collection of data, privacy violations, and ongoing censorship battles "a chaos factory."

Facebook and Apple have differing opinions when it comes to how to handle user data. Apple attempts to minimize the amount of identifiable data it collects from users, anonymizing such requests as much as possible and refusing to sell data on to others.

Facebook and firms like Google rely on using some of the collected data to track the user and to funnel advertising in their direction. While the services themselves are 'free,' they are at a cost of the user's privacy.

On Monday, two senators revealed proposals to try and educate users of the value of their personal data, in legislation that would force social networks and major companies with over 100 million users to regularly tell users how much their personal data is worth to the firm.

Clegg's talk also covered topics including declarations by US lawmakers to consider breaking up tech companies. "Just because it is difficult to regulate the internet doesn't mean policy makers should jump to the alternative of wishing these companies away," Clegg urged, according to Reuters.

"The Internet does need competition and it does need regulation," he advised. "We want to work with governments and policymakers to design the sort of smart regulation that fosters competition, encourages innovation, and protects consumers."

Clegg suggested countries in the West should work rapidly on new rules, or else China and Russia may have more control over the Internet's destiny. "If the West doesn't engage with this question quickly and emphatically, it may be that it isn't ours to answer. The common rules created in our hemisphere can become the example the rest of the world follows."

Both Apple and Facebook are seemingly on the same page regarding government oversight of tech firms and privacy. Tim Cook has made repeated calls for legislation in the past, and Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has put out similar calls to "regulate the internet."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,656member
    So companies who dear to sell a product of value to consumers is now the enemy of people for having the gual to make money from consumers verses giving it free to consumers and making money selling consumer information.
    racerhomie3AppleExposedjbdragonStrangeDaysmacseekerolsjahbladebadmonkpscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 50
    JinTechJinTech Posts: 392member
    Uh. Don’t you need a hardware platform to use Facebook? Unless you go to the library or use someone else’s hardware, you still need to buy the hardware to run their “free services.” This guy is a dimwit. 
    racerhomie3AppleExposeddoctwelvejbdragonmwhiteStrangeDaysolsjahbladelostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 50
    racerhomie3racerhomie3 Posts: 1,156member
    Oh please Facebook. Do you give your users free devices? A lot of poorer people in  the 3rd world don’t have access to smartphones. Only dumb phones. Since you say Facebook is for ‘everybody’ put your money where your mouth is & give the next 1 Billion people in 3rd world free phones & internet. You can even get iPhone 4, 4S & 5 ($47,$60 & $100) in India,Pakistan ,Bangladesh & Nepal. So don’t put crap up about all Apple products being expensive.
    AppleExposeddanhchiaGG1olsbadmonkwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 50
    kestralkestral Posts: 260member
    This guy was the former UK deputy prime minister. Sheryl Sandberg was in the state department in the USA. If you look at Facebook and Google's executive ranks, there are a lot of politicians on their payroll.

    I don't wear a tin foil hat but when the tin foil folds itself and puts itself on top of your head you have to wonder.
    AppleExposedirelandjbdragongutengelFileMakerFellermacseekerolsjahbladektappesteverob
  • Reply 5 of 50
    sacto joesacto joe Posts: 791member
    This person doesn’t want folks to look at Apple’s installed base or the discounted software and services it provides. If folks did look, they’d see hundreds of millions using perfectly usable used Apple products.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 50
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,190member
    JinTech said:
    Uh. Don’t you need a hardware platform to use Facebook? Unless you go to the library or use someone else’s hardware, you still need to buy the hardware to run their “free services.” This guy is a dimwit. 
    Sure but doesn’t Facebook on the web run on any hardware? His larger point is correct. Every company takes swipes at other companies with different business models. I remember Jeff Bezos on stage saying Amazon wants to make money when you use their device not when you buy it. And Apple of course can have this huge commitment to privacy because their business model isn’t advertising. But the reason the open web exists as it is today is because of advertising. If people were charged for every website they went to and every thing they did on the web it would be a shadow of what it is today.
    Carnage
  • Reply 7 of 50
    robjnrobjn Posts: 235member
    His whole argument is a ‘straw man’. Apple do not fundamentally object to services being advertisement based - they object to privacy abuses.

    You can do ads in a way that respects user privacy.
    AppleExposeddanhjahbladektappelostkiwisteverobpscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 50
    gutengelgutengel Posts: 331member
    -Apple: Your iPhone is an extension of your daily life, and it should be a secure as possible. -Facebook: Apple is elitist! -User: can we pay for facebook so it stops collecting all our data? -Facebook: Facebook is for everybody and it supposed to be free! The fact that we collect info on EVERYTHING in your life sell it to advertisers for billions and mismanage it every couple years is besides the point!
    AppleExposeddanhchiaolsjahbladektappewatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 50
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,261member
    JinTech said:
    Uh. Don’t you need a hardware platform to use Facebook? Unless you go to the library or use someone else’s hardware, you still need to buy the hardware to run their “free services.” This guy is a dimwit. 
    Sure but doesn’t Facebook on the web run on any hardware? His larger point is correct. Every company takes swipes at other companies with different business models. I remember Jeff Bezos on stage saying Amazon wants to make money when you use their device not when you buy it. And Apple of course can have this huge commitment to privacy because their business model isn’t advertising. But the reason the open web exists as it is today is because of advertising. If people were charged for every website they went to and every thing they did on the web it would be a shadow of what it is today.
    It's one thing to profit from advertising, it's another to be underhanded about how Morlock Mark Zuckerberg generates profit from Eloi users.

    edited June 24 AppleExposedjahbladektappelostkiwiracerhomie3Carnagepscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 50
    crowleycrowley Posts: 6,017member
    Oh please Facebook. Do you give your users free devices? A lot of poorer people in  the 3rd world don’t have access to smartphones. Only dumb phones. Since you say Facebook is for ‘everybody’ put your money where your mouth is & give the next 1 Billion people in 3rd world free phones & internet. You can even get iPhone 4, 4S & 5 ($47,$60 & $100) in India,Pakistan ,Bangladesh & Nepal. So don’t put crap up about all Apple products being expensive.
    They did try giving away free internet

    https://www.cnet.com/news/facebook-to-beam-free-internet-to-africa/
    Carnage
  • Reply 11 of 50
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,306member
    Every word out that man’s mouth is a damnable lie and the whole world knows it.
    williamlondonolssteverobwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 50
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,651member
    crowley said:
    Oh please Facebook. Do you give your users free devices? A lot of poorer people in  the 3rd world don’t have access to smartphones. Only dumb phones. Since you say Facebook is for ‘everybody’ put your money where your mouth is & give the next 1 Billion people in 3rd world free phones & internet. You can even get iPhone 4, 4S & 5 ($47,$60 & $100) in India,Pakistan ,Bangladesh & Nepal. So don’t put crap up about all Apple products being expensive.
    They did try giving away free internet

    https://www.cnet.com/news/facebook-to-beam-free-internet-to-africa/
    ...and they weren't planning on scraping data from the traffic? Riiiiiiight!

    And as far as being available to everyone, anyone can get an appleid and an iCloud account. Free. No data scraping or privacy concerns. Can facebook say that? (ok, I'll admit, that Facebook doesn't see any privacy concerns, simply because they're unconcerned with privacy.)
    AppleExposedjahbladeracerhomie3watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 50
    I wish Jimmy Wales would create a Facebook for the people, run off donations by those who could afford it, where people could just connect without the need to collect their data to make the billions Zuckerberg wants to make (or have all the power Zuckerberg wants to have). Hell, I wish Apple would do it. My friends have jumped off FB and started our own little groups in iMessage for sharing things. Way better. Apple should invest in some alternative. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 50
    ralphieralphie Posts: 13member
    Facebook should charge for a premium version, that DOESNT track everything you do, and no ads.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 50
    Cleggy really needs to keep quiet about security but his boss wants to rule the world so the assault on any company or individual who are vocal about keeping what's private private will continue.
    Facebook is totally banned (blocked at the firewall) from my network for a very good reason.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 50
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,503unconfirmed, member
    doctwelve said:
    I wish Jimmy Wales would create a Facebook for the people, run off donations by those who could afford it, where people could just connect without the need to collect their data to make the billions Zuckerberg wants to make (or have all the power Zuckerberg wants to have). Hell, I wish Apple would do it. My friends have jumped off FB and started our own little groups in iMessage for sharing things. Way better. Apple should invest in some alternative. 

    NOW is the time for Apple to jump in. People are getting sick of FaceBook and Google.
    doctwelvegenovelleGG1macseekerolslostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 50
    D_CMillsD_CMills Posts: 24unconfirmed, member
    ralphie said:
    Facebook should charge for a premium version, that DOESNT track everything you do, and no ads.
    I wouldn't trust them to not track me even if they did. 
    macseekerjahbladeCarnagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 50
    irelandireland Posts: 17,669member
    Facebook is a virus.
    AppleExposedGG1olsMplsPlostkiwipscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 50
    FolioFolio Posts: 634member
    Apple going deeper into user-generated content and social media. Across devices with similar apps and your select groups, you'll be able to comment on Sports, games, TV shows live, or asynch with say books or News with club members. Siri in future may match your interests with others... could be a rebirth plus of Parisian salons of the Enlightenment?!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 50
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,503unconfirmed, member
    D_CMills said:
    ralphie said:
    Facebook should charge for a premium version, that DOESNT track everything you do, and no ads.
    I wouldn't trust them to not track me even if they did. 

    Like Google when they offered "do not track" options lol.
    jahbladelostkiwiwatto_cobra
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