The Silicon Valley power broker says the social media giant has spun out of control because of its business model and needs reining in.

By Tim Cook says Facebook needs to be regulated

Posted on March 29, 2018

Apple CEO Tim Cook has long shared his concerns about Facebook and Google’s data-harvesting business model, but in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal he is saying enough’s enough.

“We could make a ton of money if we monetised our customers, if our customers were our product,” Cook said in an interview with Recode and MSNBC that will air on April 6.

“We’ve elected not to do that. We’re not going to traffic in your personal life… Privacy to us is a human right, a civil liberty.”

We’re not going to traffic in your personal life… Privacy to us is a human right.

He said Facebook’s inability to protect users’ privacy had left lawmakers with no alternative but to impose legislation.

“I think the best regulation is no regulation, is self-regulation. However, I think we’re beyond that here.”

This follows on from his appearance at the annual China Development Forum in Beijing last week, where he called for “well-crafted regulation”.

“I think that this certain situation is so dire and has become so large that probably some well-crafted regulation is necessary,” Cook said at the summit.

“The ability of anyone to know what you’ve been browsing about for years, who your contacts are, who their contacts are, things you like and dislike and every intimate detail of your life — from my own point of view it shouldn’t exist.”

When asked in the Recode and MSNBC interview what he would do if he were Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Cook said: “I wouldn’t be in this situation.”

Zuckerberg only agrees to testify in the US

The co-founder and CEO of Facebook has been targeted by lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic over the data breach of 50 million profiles on the platform.

And on Tuesday it was reported by CNN that he was willing to front the US Congress but had spurned requests to appear before members of parliament in the UK.

In a letter to UK parliamentary committee chair Damian Collins, Facebook’s head of public policy, Rebecca Stimson said: “Facebook fully recognises the level of public and parliamentary interest in these issues and support your belief that these issues must be addressed at the most senior levels of the company by those in an authoritative position to answer your questions.

“As such, Mr Zuckerberg has personally asked one of his deputies to make themselves available.”

Collins, who had earlier challenged Zuckerberg to “stop hiding behind his Facebook page”, made his displeasure known, saying it was an “absolutely astonishing” decision to send a deputy in his place.

“I think, given the extraordinary evidence we’ve heard so far today, it is absolutely astonishing that Mark Zuckerberg is not prepared to submit himself to questioning in front of a parliamentary or congressional hearing, given these are questions of fundamental importance and concern to his users, as well as to this inquiry,” Collins said.

Influencers say goodbye to Facebook

Playboy has joined the likes of Will Ferrell, Cher and Elon Musk in opting to remove its presence from Facebook.

The adult entertainment company said in a statement that it was deactivating all the Facebook accounts it manages.

“The recent news about Facebook’s alleged mismanagement of users’ data has solidified our decision to suspend our activity on the platform at this time,” the statement read.

Founder Hugh Hefner’s son Cooper tweeted: “Learning of the recent meddling in a free U.S. election further demonstrates another concern we have of how they handle users’ data — more than 25 million of which are Playboy fans — making it clear to us that we must leave the platform.”

Hollywood has joined the #DeleteFacebook movement too. Will Ferrell — who has 10 million followers — took to the platform on Tuesday to tell his fans that he would be deleting his account on Friday. A 72-hour window to allow his statement to circulate wide enough to reach everybody.

In his lengthy post, he wrote: “I know I am not alone when I say that I was very disturbed to hear about Cambridge Analytica’s misuse of millions of Facebook users’ information in order to undermine our democracy and infringe on our citizens’ privacy.”

“I was further appalled to learn that Facebook’s reaction to such a violation was to suspend the account of the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower,” he added.

Billionaire founder and CEO of Tesla and Space X, Elon Musk, was one of the first to get the ball rolling.

Responding to challenges from his Twitter followers, Musk deleted the Facebook accounts of all his companies.

Facebook is in crisis. By Tuesday its stock had plunged 18% wiping out nearly $80 billion in market value, and as a result $14 billion has been shaved off Zuckerberg’s personal fortune.