Zuckerberg accuses Apple of having ‘incentive to interfere’ with Facebook for competitive reasons

Mark Zuckerberg can’t keep Apple out of his head. While Apple pushes more aggressive customer privacy protection features on its platform, the Facebook CEO is decrying Apple’s efforts as competitive interference with the social network.

In Facebook’s quarterly earnings call with investors today, Zuckerberg accused Apple’s new changes around IDFA (IDentifier For Advertisers) as actually being intended to harm Facebook’s business interests and not protect customer privacy.

“Apple may say they’re doing this to help people, but the moves clearly track with their competitive interests,” Zuckerberg declared. The Facebook CEO went on to label Apple as “one of [Facebook’s] biggest competitors” despite the social network relying on the iPhone and iOS as half of its mobile platform in the United States.

In Zuckerberg’s view, Apple’s moves to limit how advertisers can track iPhone users on iOS is driven by an “incentive to interfere” with Facebook and force a preference on Apple’s own apps. Apple highlights privacy features in iMessage and FaceTime including strong encryption that Facebook doesn’t adopt in its messaging apps.

Facebook is clearly spooked about the effect Apple’s strong policy on privacy will have on its business. The company turned to full-page newspaper ads in December to try to turn the public against Apple’s ad-tracking changes. The Electronic Frontier Foundation wasn’t entertained, and Apple CEO Tim Cook responded by saying Apple is standing up for its users.

Facebook has since taken the public position of saying it’s forced to handicap its business partners due to Apple’s App Tracking Transparency policy as part of iOS 14. Learn more about these changes in iOS 14 here.

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Avatar for Zac Hall Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts.