Facebook’s Zuckerberg fires back at Apple’s Tim Cook

Facebook’s chief executive has defended his leadership following criticism from his counterpart at Apple.

Mark Zuckerberg said it was “extremely glib” to suggest that because the public did not pay to use Facebook that the firm did not care about them.

Last week, Apple’s Tim Cook said it was an “invasion of privacy” to traffic in users’ personal lives.

And when asked what he would do if he were Mr Zuckerberg, Mr Cook replied: “I wouldn’t be in that situation.”

Facebook has faced intense criticism after it emerged that it had known for years that Cambridge Analytica had harvested data from about 50 million of its users, but had relied on the political consultancy to self-certify that it had deleted the information.

Channel 4 News has since reported that at least some of the data in question is still in circulation despite Cambridge Analytica insisting it had destroyed the material.

Mr Zuckerberg was asked about Mr Cook’s comments during a lengthy interview given to news site Vox about the privacy scandal.

He also acknowledged that Facebook was still not transparent enough about some of the choices it had taken, and floated the idea of an independent panel being able to override some of its decisions.

‘Dire situation’

Mr Cook has spoken in public twice since Facebook’s data-mining controversy began.

On 23 March, he took part in the China Development Forum in Beijing.

“I think that this certain situation is so dire and has become so large that probably some well-crafted regulation is necessary,” news agency Bloomberg quoted him as saying in response to a question about the social network’s problems.

“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.”

  • Facebook haunted by ‘ugly truth’ memo
  • Facebook privacy settings revamped after scandal
  • Zuckerberg will not appear before MPs

    Then in an interview with MSNBC and Recode on 28 March, Mr Cook said: “I think the best regulation is no regulation, is self-regulation. However, I think we’re beyond that here.”

    During this second appearance – which has yet to be broadcast in full – he added: “We could make a tonne of money if we monetised our customer, if our customer was our product. We’ve elected not to do that… Privacy to us is a human right.”

    Apple makes most of its profits from selling smartphones, tablets and other computers, as well as associated services such as online storage and its various media stores.

    This contrasts with other tech firms whose profits are largely derived from advertising, including Google, Twitter and Facebook.

    Mr Zuckerberg had previously told CNN that he was “open” to new regulations.

    But he defended his business model when questioned about Mr Cook’s views, although he mentioned neither Apple nor its leader by name.

    “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,” he said.

    “The reality here is that if you want to build a service that helps connect everyone in the world, then there are a lot of people who can’t afford to pay.”

    He added: “I think it’s important that we don’t all get Stockholm syndrome and let the companies that work hard to charge you more convince you that they actually care more about you, because that sounds ridiculous to me.”

    Mr Zuckerberg also defended his leadership by invoking Amazon’s chief executive.

    “I make all of our decisions based on what’s going to matter to our community and focus much less on the advertising side of the business,” he said.

    “I thought Jeff Bezos had an excellent saying: “There are companies that work hard to charge you more, and there are companies that work hard to charge you less.”

    ‘Turned into a beast’

    Elsewhere in the 49-minute interview, Mr Zuckerberg said he hoped to make Facebook more “democratic” by giving members a chance to challenge decisions its own review team had taken about what content to permit or ban.

    Eventually, he said, he wanted something like the “Supreme Court”, in which people who did not work for the company made the ultimate call on what was acceptable speech.

    Mr Zuckerberg also responded to recent criticism from a UN probe into allegations of genocide against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

    Last month, one of the human rights investigators said Facebook had “turned into a beast” and had “played a determining role” in stirring up hatred against the group.

    Mr Zuckerberg claimed messages had been sent “to each side of the conflict” via Facebook Messenger, attempting to make them go to the same locations to fight.

    But he added that the firm had now set up systems to detect such activity.

    “We stop those messages from going through,” he added.

    “But this is certainly something that we’re paying a lot of attention to.”

Alphons Kannanthanam: India minister’s ‘naked’ visa claim criticised

An Indian minister has sparked a social media storm with his comments on the country’s controversial biometric identity scheme.

Alphons Kannanthanam said Indians had no problem “getting naked” for a US visa, but object to the Aadhaar scheme over privacy concerns.

It is not clear what he meant exactly but he may be referring to airport strip searches.

Since Aadhar’s inception, critics have been worried about its data safety.

In January, an Indian journalist said she was able to access citizens’ personal details on the Aadhaar website after paying an agent 500 rupees ($8; £6). The government called it a data breach at the time.

“But when the government of India, which is your government, asks you your name and your address, nothing more, there’s a massive revolution in the country saying it’s an intrusion into the privacy of the individual.”

He added that the biometric data collected under the scheme was safe with the government.

  • Aadhaar: Are a billion identities at risk on India’s biometric database
  • Aadhaar data leak: Edward Snowden backs India reporter over expose

    The comment by the minister comes a week after the Indian Supreme Court extended its deadline on ruling whether Aadhaar needs to be mandatorily linked to avail various services, including welfare schemes, bank accounts and phone numbers.

    Mr Kannanthanam added that he had to fill out a 10-page form to apply for a US visa.

    “Ten pages of data which you have never even confessed to your wife or husband ever, that is passed on to the white man. We have no problem,” he said.

    However, many on social media were quick to point out the differences between the two scenarios he put forward:

    Skip Twitter post by @MangoBwoy

    Is applying for US visa voluntarily mandatory for every Indian citizen? Do you guys understand consent, privacy and things like that?

    — শেখর (@MangoBwoy) March 25, 2018

    Report

    End of Twitter post by @MangoBwoy

    Skip Twitter post by @mehraan_1989

    But 1.6 billion people doesn't apply for US Visa. Weird argument to defend privacy theft #databreach

    — Mehraan Laigroo (@mehraan_1989) March 25, 2018

    Report

    End of Twitter post by @mehraan_1989

    Skip Twitter post by @ankur2smart

    Not everyone goes to US and those who do, do it by choice. How do you guys even manage to be such high profile minister.

    — Ankur Goel (@ankur2smart) March 25, 2018

    Report

    End of Twitter post by @ankur2smart

    Skip Twitter post by @Retributions

    This going naked for a US visa is not only factually incorrect but plainly disingenuous: countries treat citizens/non-citizens differently. US may ask for all sort of biometrics for a visa but doesn’t ask any for a social security number. Can find better defense of #aadhaar

    — Rohit Pradhan (@Retributions) March 25, 2018

    Report

    End of Twitter post by @Retributions

    Skip Twitter post by @chetan_cbe

    @alphonstourism you should realize that us visa is voluntary. Can you assure me that #Aadhaar is voluntary too?
    And no I don't have a us visa but I was forced to get an #Aadhaar

    — chetan shah (@chetan_cbe) March 25, 2018

    Report

    End of Twitter post by @chetan_cbe

    Skip Twitter post by @bombaywallah

    Naked? For a US visa? Things have certainly changed https://t.co/7aNLYuWSQ5

    — Sidharth Bhatia (@bombaywallah) March 25, 2018

    Report

    End of Twitter post by @bombaywallah

    India’s biometric database is the world’s largest. The government has collected fingerprints and iris scans from more than a billion residents – or nearly 90% of the population – and stored them in a high security data centre.

    Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that citizens have a fundamental right to privacy in a landmark judgment. The ruling, experts said, had significant implications for the government’s vast biometric ID scheme.

Alphons Kannanthanam: India minister’s ‘naked’ visa claim criticised

An Indian minister has sparked a social media storm with his comments on the country’s controversial biometric identity scheme.

Alphons Kannanthanam said Indians had no problem “getting naked” for a US visa, but object to the Aadhaar scheme over privacy concerns.

It is not clear what he meant exactly but he may be referring to airport strip searches.

Since Aadhar’s inception, critics have been worried about its data safety.

In January, an Indian journalist said she was able to access citizens’ personal details on the Aadhaar website after paying an agent 500 rupees ($8; £6). The government called it a data breach at the time.

“But when the government of India, which is your government, asks you your name and your address, nothing more, there’s a massive revolution in the country saying it’s an intrusion into the privacy of the individual.”

He added that the biometric data collected under the scheme was safe with the government.

  • Aadhaar: Are a billion identities at risk on India’s biometric database
  • Aadhaar data leak: Edward Snowden backs India reporter over expose

    The comment by the minister comes a week after the Indian Supreme Court extended its deadline on ruling whether Aadhaar needs to be mandatorily linked to avail various services, including welfare schemes, bank accounts and phone numbers.

    Mr Kannanthanam added that he had to fill out a 10-page form to apply for a US visa.

    “Ten pages of data which you have never even confessed to your wife or husband ever, that is passed on to the white man. We have no problem,” he said.

    However, many on social media were quick to point out the differences between the two scenarios he put forward:

    Skip Twitter post by @MangoBwoy

    Is applying for US visa voluntarily mandatory for every Indian citizen? Do you guys understand consent, privacy and things like that?

    — শেখর (@MangoBwoy) March 25, 2018

    Report

    End of Twitter post by @MangoBwoy

    Skip Twitter post by @mehraan_1989

    But 1.6 billion people doesn't apply for US Visa. Weird argument to defend privacy theft #databreach

    — Mehraan Laigroo (@mehraan_1989) March 25, 2018

    Report

    End of Twitter post by @mehraan_1989

    Skip Twitter post by @ankur2smart

    Not everyone goes to US and those who do, do it by choice. How do you guys even manage to be such high profile minister.

    — Ankur Goel (@ankur2smart) March 25, 2018

    Report

    End of Twitter post by @ankur2smart

    Skip Twitter post by @Retributions

    This going naked for a US visa is not only factually incorrect but plainly disingenuous: countries treat citizens/non-citizens differently. US may ask for all sort of biometrics for a visa but doesn’t ask any for a social security number. Can find better defense of #aadhaar

    — Rohit Pradhan (@Retributions) March 25, 2018

    Report

    End of Twitter post by @Retributions

    Skip Twitter post by @chetan_cbe

    @alphonstourism you should realize that us visa is voluntary. Can you assure me that #Aadhaar is voluntary too?
    And no I don't have a us visa but I was forced to get an #Aadhaar

    — chetan shah (@chetan_cbe) March 25, 2018

    Report

    End of Twitter post by @chetan_cbe

    Skip Twitter post by @bombaywallah

    Naked? For a US visa? Things have certainly changed https://t.co/7aNLYuWSQ5

    — Sidharth Bhatia (@bombaywallah) March 25, 2018

    Report

    End of Twitter post by @bombaywallah

    India’s biometric database is the world’s largest. The government has collected fingerprints and iris scans from more than a billion residents – or nearly 90% of the population – and stored them in a high security data centre.

    Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that citizens have a fundamental right to privacy in a landmark judgment. The ruling, experts said, had significant implications for the government’s vast biometric ID scheme.