Last week Tim Cook gave an interview to CNBC where he was asked how he would respond if he was in Mark Zuckerberg’s shoes. He replied, “I wouldn’t be in this situation.” The frank reply from one of the most significant CEOs in the world prompted Zuckerberg to fire back in an interview with Vox, commenting on how Apple catered only to the wealthy and that Facebook’s ad model made it so that everyone could have access to it.
It’s no secret that Apple is considered to be an elitist company. Even though many flagship smartphone and laptops from other companies match Apple’s price points, the company has been made fun of repeatedly for making its customers’ wallets lighter. Tim Cook said in the interview that Apple could monetize its customers to make more money than it currently does yet it prioritizes their privacy over profit. Zuckerberg quoted Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in his reply to Cook, saying, “There are companies that work hard to charge you more and there are companies that work hard to charge you less.”
However, Zuck may not be entirely truthful about this class divide. A study published in Quartz in 2016 found that Facebook generated just $12 annually per user from ads in 2015. That’s a shockingly minimal price to pay for privacy, especially in the US.
As the Cambridge Analytica Scandal continues to influence Facebook’s market capital, the conversation about online privacy rages on.