A new development has occurred in the ongoing wrangle between the CEO’s of two of the biggest Silicon Valley tech giants, Facebook and Apple, with the CEO of the former, Mark Zuckerberg, allegedly ordering his executives to ditch Apple smartphones in favor of Android.
The kerfuffle started way back in the month of April when Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, had made a comment in an MSNBC interview, directly referring to Facebook’s data privacy blunder in the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal. In the interview, Cook had made his point of view clear when he said that Facebook had failed to protect its users’ data by failing at regulation, and in the process had violated user privacy, a civil liberty, a human right, which must not be sold off for monetary gains. While Zuckerberg had refrained from responding to Cook’s comment specifically, his latest order, although not made public, hints at a personal vendetta he might hold against Cook.
Zuckerberg’s order to the seniors at his firms to refrain from using smartphones has been reported by the New York Times and is being interpreted as a direct and unfair reaction to Cook’s comments. Although Zuckerberg has provided a half-cooked explanation for his odd injunction, saying that the use of Android phones is more commonplace compared to the use of their iOS counterparts; questions are being raised on Zuckerberg’s legal rights to issue such an injunction, that violates openly basic constitutional rights of any American citizen. Furthermore, it is still unclear if Facebook employees are planning on carrying out the order given them.
Facebook was one of the guilty party in the Cambridge-Analytica scandal, which had also implicated the current US president, Donald Trump. Media investigations had revealed that Trump had hired the data consultancy firm to aid his Presidential campaign; and in carrying out their task, the firm had successfully pulled the data of 87 million Facebook users. The scandal was one of the biggest cases of breach of user privacy for which Zuckerberg had to appear before a Senate Committee to defend himself.
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The scandal had also affected Facebook users in other countries as well, with the United Kingdom fining Facebook 500,000 Pounds as a symbolic punishment for a serious breach of privacy regulations in October. In India, on the other hand, even though both the Bharatiya Janata Party and Indian National Congress had reportedly hired Cambridge Analytica for election campaign-related data mining, there have been no grave consequences faced by Facebook.