Zuckerberg told Facebook 'We need to inflict pain' on Apple

Mark Zuckerberg in front of the Facebook logo
Mark Zuckerberg in front of the Facebook logo (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • A new report reveals Mark Zuckerberg told Facebook it needed to "inflict pain" on Apple.
  • He reportedly made the comment after Cook piled on Facebook over controversial data collection practices that came to light in 2018.

A new report says that Mark Zuckerberg told Facebook employees "we need to inflict pain" on Apple in 2018.

From the WSJ:

Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has groused for years that Apple Inc. and its leader, Tim Cook, have too much sway over the social-media giant's business. In 2018, his anger boiled over.Facebook was embroiled in controversy over its data-collection practices. Mr. Cook piled on in a national television interview, saying his own company would never have found itself in such a jam. Mr. Zuckerberg shot back that Mr. Cook's comments were "extremely glib" and "not at all aligned with the truth."In private, Mr. Zuckerberg was even harsher. "We need to inflict pain," he told his team, for treating the company so poorly, according to people familiar with the exchange.

The report comes in the context of a very public dispute between Apple and Facebook over recent changes to iOS 14 and user tracking, a move Facebook says could destroy its advertising business. As the report notes, the feud seems to have been some years in the making.

The report says that in 2017, Zuckerberg and Cook held a face to face meeting that "didn't go well". Zuckerberg complained about app-review delays, and thought that Cook was "abrasive". The kicker came in 2018 when Cook made public comments about the Cambridge Analytica fiasco in 2018:

In early 2018, Facebook revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a firm that helped Donald Trump's presidential campaign, had improperly used the social-media platform's data, amplifying long-standing fears about the enormous amount of information it gathers from users.Asked on MSNBC what he would do if he were Facebook's CEO, Mr. Cook said: "I wouldn't be in this situation."Current and former Facebook employees said Mr. Cook's comments left many inside the company feeling that Apple was unfairly picking on them, with executives grumbling that Mr. Cook wasn't singling out their social-media rivals in the same way.

The report said that Facebook's lawyers and communications executives "discussed how to drum up antitrust concerns about Apple through lobbying groups, regulators, or an antitrust lawsuit.

Facebook maintains that personalized ads and user privacy can coexist, stating as much in an email to businesses earlier this year. Facebook claims it has no choice but to show a new opt-in prompt that will warn users before they agree to be tracked across apps and devices using an IDFA number.

The report strongly echoes one from earlier this week stating that Epic Games' similar frustrations with Apple have been some three years in the making and that the company spent months planning its antitrust lawsuit against the company.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9