Apple is in an existential tiff with Facebook over the privacy warnings in iOS 14 because if you sat down to read the warnings for the Facebook app you’d be done in time for Easter dinner but you wouldn’t want to eat it because you’d be too nauseated.
Writing for CNet, however, Chris Matyszczyk says both Facebook and Apple are wrong. Because of course.
“Apple and Facebook bathe in the hot tub of hypocrisy.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Nick.)
Let’s just move past the weird analogy as fast as we can and never speak of it again.
The lovely thing about our times is we’ve really learned to take sides.
Having to decide whether Facebook or Apple is right about privacy is tearing this country apart! Anyway, why actually consider things when you can simply declare a pox on both their houses?
As we stagger toward Christmas, we’re being encouraged to raise our cudgels and fight another Holy War.
Only one of these two companies took out full-page newspaper ads laughingly claiming to be the pal of small business and it wasn’t Apple. It was the company whose algorithm promoted Holocaust denial and who destroyed democracy. That one.
Apple, however, is also bad according to Matyszczyk because it made people use “proprietary – and not very good – chargers for the longest time” and has “draconian” App Store rules and equally tight control over how its products and China are depicted in its TV shows.
Okay. But here’s the thing: so what? None of these have anything to do with privacy. Facebook would like to make this about small business because Facebook knows it has no leg to stand on with privacy.
Apple can be wrong about the App Store rules and right about giving people the ability to see how companies are using their private information.
Let’s do a little thought experiment here. A company decides to make a game that quietly takes $100 out of your checking account every time you play it and it wants to put it on the App Store. The game also gives you an electric shock. Why not? It’s the Macalope’s thought experiment, he can do what he wants. And, while it’s not germane to the story, the company is called Jerks Incorporated. Anyway, they say the theft and shocks are all part of the game and people love it. Apple says “What? No, you can’t do that. You have to at least warn people about it.” Jerks Incorporated is outraged. The company takes out a full page ad in The New York Times saying “APPLE HATES SMALL BUSINESS” and pundits shrug and say they’re both wrong because Apple made bad keyboards on MacBooks for years.
The thing is, the butterfly keyboard the Macalope is struggling to type this on can suck while the company is also right that Jerks Incorporated should not be allowed to publish this game.
Even if Apple is only pushing privacy because of its marketing value—which is debatable—it still makes features that support privacy, it still provides the benefit. And Facebook does the exact opposite.
The EFF is not exactly made up of Apple fans, yet seems to get the crux of this disagreement pretty well.
When a company does the right thing for its users, EFF will stand with it, just as we will come down hard on companies that do the wrong thing.
Here, Apple is right and Facebook is wrong.
You don’t have to always be right to be right about this particular thing. A pox on just one of their houses, in this particular case.
And if people want to start calling Facebook “Jerks Incorporated”, consider the Macalope’s permission given.