Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has attacked Apple in Facebook’s quarterly earnings call this week.
Zuckerberg said Facebook’s messaging apps had excellent privacy practices. He then moved into going for Apple, saying it had “mislead” consumers with privacy promises while delivering a messaging service, called iMessage, with less privacy than Facebook’s own WhatsApp.
“Our competitors often make misleading privacy claims,” he said.
“Now Apple recently put out so-called nutrition labels, which focused mostly on metadata they could gather rather than the privacy of customer’s actual messages, but their iMessage app stores non-end-to-end encrypted copies of your messages by default unless you disable it,” he added.
Apple’s release of privacy-nutrition labels for apps is a part of its larger privacy change that has triggered an argument among Facebook and itself, to the point of Facebook taking out a full-page attack ad against Apple in December.
Zuckerberg claimed WhatsApp’s encryption made it “superior” to Apple’s own messaging app.
“I do want to stress that we are increasingly seeing Apple as one of our biggest competitors. And iMessage is their top ecosystem linchpin,” Zuckerberg said.
He also seemed to accuse Apple of anticompetitive actions.
“We also see Apple’s business depending increasingly on gaining share in apps and services against ourselves and other companies. So Apple has motive and incentive to use their platform to interfere with our apps, which they routinely do to help their own,” he said.
Apple delayed its release of a new privacy feature in iOS 14 update after developers, including Facebook, claimed it would decimate their revenue. The feature would request user permission for apps to track them for advertising reasons.
Apple said this week, the feature which was originally going to be released for September, would be happening in early spring. Facebook CFO Dave Wehner claimed the company would suffer “significant ad targeting problems” in Q1 because of Apple’s new changes.
Zuckerberg went on to claim that while Apple “might say they’re doing this for consumers,” the changes “clearly align with their competitive goals. And I think this dynamic is vital for people to know as we see more moves by the company.”