What prompted this bizarre decision was when Apple CEO Tim Cook in an interview with MSNBC subtly criticized Facebook for being a service that traffics “in your personal life.”
Cook was asked that what he would do if he were in Zuckerberg’s shoes dealing with the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal. He dismissed the question by saying, “I wouldn’t be in this situation.”
Zuckerberg soon after retorted in an interview with Recode that he found Cook’s comments to be “extremely glib.”
According to a report by the New York Times, Cook’s comments angered Zuckerberg. He later ordered his management to only use Android phones. He argued that the Android mobile operating system had a wider user base compared with Apple’s. The report had given a detailed account of what went inside Facebook following the Russian interference. It further spoke about the company’s subsequent handling of the Cambridge Analytica controversy.
Facebook’s offence against Apple didn’t stop right there. According to NYT, the company also promoted negative articles about Apple on a conservative news site called the NTK Network.
In a massive controversy which broke out in April this year, the social media giant, Facebook had stated that the personal data of nearly 87 million users may have been ‘improperly shared’ with political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had accepted the blame for the data breach.
Cambridge Analytica, a UK based firm with which the data was allegedly shared, had also been amidst a large global scandal. News broke that it had used millions of Facebook users’ personal information for targeted political campaigns. CA had managed US President Donald Trump’s campaign.
In India, Indian National Congress was also reportedly one of its clients. The Congress party had been in a denial mode over its alleged hiring of CA and the allegations of using voter’s personal data to expose social and demographical fault lines to strategise its poll campaign. But several shreds of evidence had emerged showing that it had been in business with the firm.
Prominent Congress supporter turned rebel, Shehzad Poonawalla had also revealed what he claimed was a pitch made by Cambridge Analytica to the Congress party for bagging it as one of its clients.
While Chris Wylie, former director of research at CA had laid bare the data breach scandal and had even named Congress in an affirmation before British lawmakers, a video of Jamie Bartlett, journalist and author, interviewing Cambridge Analytica’s CEO, Alexander Nix had also surfaced. OpIndia got in touch with the author to understand the specifics of the controversy.
Failing to protect user data, Facebook was severely criticised worldwide. The Government of India has sent a notice to Facebook to provide details on the data of Indian users leaked to CA and whether the data might have been used to manipulate the electoral process.
In May, however, Cambridge Analytica had shut down its operations along with its parent company SCL Elections Ltd with immediate effect.