Facebook, Apple Chiefs Unleash Barbs As App Store Feud Heats Up

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A feud between tech giants heated up Thursday as Apple’s chief executive implied Facebook’s business model promotes disinformation and violence, while the social network reportedly prepares an antitrust lawsuit against Apple.

The suit accuses Apple of abusing control of its App Store by requiring outside app developers, such as Facebook, to abide by rules not applied to its own apps, tech publication The Information reported.

“As we have said repeatedly, we believe Apple is behaving anti-competitively by using their control of the App Store to benefit their bottom line at the expense of app developers and small businesses,” Facebook told AFP, declining to confirm or deny the report.

A suit by Facebook accuses Apple of abusing control of its App Store by requiring outside app developers to abide by a different set of rules A suit by Facebook accuses Apple of abusing control of its App Store by requiring outside app developers to abide by a different set of rules Photo: AFP / Miguel MEDINA

Apple did not reply to a request for comment, but chief executive Tim Cook seemed to take aim at Facebook when he blasted “disinformation and conspiracy theories juiced by algorithms” during a virtual data privacy conference in Brussels on Thursday, according to reports by CNBC and the Wall Street Journal.

Cook did not mention Facebook by name, but skewered business models built on targeted advertising, which accounts for most of the social network’s revenue, media reports indicated.

“If a business is built on misleading users, on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all, it does not deserve our praise,” Cook was quoted as saying.

He reasoned that letting online platforms serve as stages for extremist groups or for sowing doubt in life-saving vaccines can result in “polarization, lost trust and yes, of violence,” according to media reports.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said during an earnings conference call with investors that Apple was becoming one of his company's biggest competitors Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said during an earnings conference call with investors that Apple was becoming one of his company’s biggest competitors Photo: AFP / Olivier DOULIERY

The tech giants have been clashing over changes in the latest version of Apple’s iOS operating software, which includes a tracking transparency feature that Facebook claims will cripple its ability to serve up targeted ads.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said during an earnings…

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