📺 Stream EntrepreneurTV for Free 📺

Apple CEO Condemns Social Media Over Disinformation 'Juiced by Algorithms' 'Technology does not need vast troves of personal data, stitched together across dozens of websites and apps, in order to succeed,' Tim Cook says at a digital privacy conference.

By Michael Kan

entrepreneur daily

This story originally appeared on PCMag

via PC Mag

Apple CEO Tim Cook is bashing Facebook's and YouTube's business models as a threat to society. He didn't name the companies by name, but in a speech on Thursday he condemned social media services for serving up fake news and fringe ideas to keep users hooked.

"At a moment of rampant disinformation and conspiracy theories juiced by algorithms, we can no longer turn a blind eye to a theory of technology that says all engagement is good engagement," Cook said during a virtual appearance at the Computers, Privacy and Data Protection conference in Brussels.

Related: 20 Defining Moments in the Life of Apple's Steve Jobs

Apple's CEO made a similar speech in 2018, when he blasted the recommendation algorithms of the top internet platforms. According to him, the same algorithms can radicalize users with misinformation and extreme ideologies. On Thursday, Cook went further to connect social media services to fueling real-world violence, an apparent reference to pro-Trump supporters storming the US Capitol on Jan. 6.

"It is long past time to stop pretending that this approach doesn't come with a cost—of polarization, of lost trust and, yes, of violence," he said. "A social dilemma cannot be allowed to become a social catastrophe."

Cook made the speech as his company is facing a dispute with Facebook over digital privacy. An update to Apple's iOS 14 is requiring app developers to overhaul how they collect users' personal data. Soon, they'll have to first ask users permission to do so in order to serve up targeted ads.

Facebook is no fan of the change; it's been protesting the iOS 14 requirement, arguing it'll cripple the company's ability to serve relevant ads from businesses on iPhones. Facebook is so upset, it may fight back with an antitrust lawsuit, according to The Information.

"I do want to highlight that we increasingly see Apple as one of our biggest competitors," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Wednesday earnings call, where he named Apple's iMessage as a major rival to WhatsApp.

At the same time, much of the tension between the two companies boils down to how they make money. Although Facebook mines your internet activities for insights, the social network is free. Apple, on the other hand, has built a business empire on selling (expensive) hardware to consumers, negating the need to harvest people's data like internet companies tend to do.

However, Cook said a key problem facing social media platforms is a blatant disregard for the consequences their recommendation algorithms can cause. "Technology does not need vast troves of personal data, stitched together across dozens of websites and apps, in order to succeed," he added. "Advertising existed and thrived for decades without it."

Michael Kan

Reporter

Michael has been a PCMag reporter since October 2017. He previously covered tech news in China from 2010 to 2015, before moving to San Francisco to write about cybersecurity.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Thought Leaders

6 Tips From a Clean Beauty Entrepreneur

Sarah Biggers went from a newbie in the natural beauty space to a pro in just a few years. Here are six things she wishes she'd known at the beginning.

Business News

A National U.S. News Outlet Is Hiring a Full-Time 'Lauren Sánchez Reporter'

The Daily Beast's new chief content officer, Joanna Coles, revealed the senior reporter opening on Instagram.

Starting a Business

He Had a Side Hustle Driving for Uber When a Passenger Gave Him $100,000 — Now His Company Is On Track to Solve a Billion-Dollar Problem

Joshua Britton is the founder and CEO of Debut, a biotechnology company that's doing things differently.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Health & Wellness

You Won't Be a Successful Entrepreneur Until You Adopt These 3 Habits

Being an entrepreneur is a marathon, not a sprint!

Starting a Business

Most People Have No Business Starting a Business. Here's What to Consider Before You Become an Entrepreneur

You need to find the right business opportunity at the right time and take the right steps to beat the odds.