Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook have feuded for years over user privacy and antitrust concerns. Here’s where their rivalry began and everything that’s happened since.

Tim Cook Mark Zuckerberg
Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Apple CEO Tim Cook have been adversaries for years.
  • They’ve traded barbs over how expensive Apple products are and the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
  • Now, Facebook is fighting back against Apple’s upcoming privacy feature.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The long-standing feud between Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook appears to be raging on.

The two tech titans have been feuding since at least 2014, trading barbs over each other’s products and business models. But in recent months, their battle has escalated to public jabs, pointed ad campaigns, and even a possible legal dispute: The Information reported in January that Facebook is preparing an antitrust lawsuit against Apple, alleging that Apple put a choke-hold on third-party app developers.

Here’s when the grudge began, and everything that’s happened since.

The feud between Zuckerberg and Cook became public in 2014, when Cook lambasted Facebook’s business model.

Tim Cook

In September 2014, Cook gave an in-depth interview with Charlie Rose that touched on a range of topics, including privacy.

During the interview — which took place in the weeks following the infamous leaks of multiple female celebrities’ nude photos stored on their iCloud accounts — Cook espoused Apple’s commitment to privacy while denouncing the business models of companies like Google and Facebook. 

“I think everyone has to ask, how do companies make their money? Follow the money,” Cook said. “And if they’re making money mainly by collecting gobs of personal data, I think you have a right to be worried. And you should really understand what’s happening to that data.”  

Shortly after, Cook reiterated his stance in an open letter on Apple’s dedicated privacy site. 

“A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that when an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product,” Cook wrote. 

Cook’s comments rankled Zuckerberg, who called the claims “ridiculous” and blasted Apple products as being expensive.

mark zuckerberg 2010

In an interview with Time later that year, Zuckerberg was reportedly visibly irritated by Cook’s assertions. 

“A frustration I have is that a lot of people increasingly seem to equate an advertising business model with somehow being out of alignment with your customers,” Zuckerberg told Time’s Lev Grossman. “I think it’s the most ridiculous concept. What, you think because you’re paying Apple that you’re somehow in alignment with them? If you were in alignment with them, then they’d make their products a lot cheaper!”

Their squabble came to a head following the Cambridge Analytica scandal when Cook criticized Facebook’s actions.

Tim Cook

In 2018, a whistleblower revealed that consulting firm Cambridge Analytica harvested user data without consent from 50 million users. 

During an interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher and MSNBC’s Chris Hayes in the months following, Cook was asked what he would do if he was in Zuckerberg’s shoes

Cook responded: “What would I do? I wouldn’t be in this situation.”

Cook said that Facebook should have regulated itself when it came to user data, but that “I think we’re beyond that here.” He also doubled down on his stance that Facebook considers its users its product. 

“The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer — if our customer was our product,” Cook said. “We’ve elected not to do that.”

Zuckerberg hit back, calling Cook’s comments “extremely glib.”

facebook ceo mark zuckerberg

“You know, I find that argument, that if you’re not paying that somehow we can’t care about you, to be extremely glib. And not at all aligned with the truth,” Zuckerberg said during an interview on The Ezra Klein Show podcast.

He refuted the idea that Facebook isn’t focused on serving people and once again criticized the premium Apple places on its products. 

“I think it’s important that we don’t all get Stockholm Syndrome and let the companies that work hard to charge you more convince you that they actually care more about you,” he said. “Because that sounds ridiculous to me.”

Privately, Zuckerberg was reportedly outraged by Cook’s remarks – so much so that he ordered his employees to switch to Android devices.

Mark Zuckerberg security phone

In November 2018, The New York Times published a blockbuster report detailing the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The Times reported that Cook’s comments had “infuriated” Zuckerberg, who ordered employees on his management team who used iPhones to switch to Android. 

Soon after the report published, Facebook wrote a blog post refuting some of the reporting by The Times — but not the Zuckerberg-Cook feud. 

“Tim Cook has consistently criticized our business model and Mark has been equally clear he disagrees. So there’s been no need to employ anyone else to do this for us,” Facebook wrote. “And we’ve long encouraged our employees and executives to use Android because it is the most popular operating system in the world.”

In August 2020, Zuckerberg jumped in the fray as Apple faced criticism over its App Store policies.

mark zuckerberg

During a company-wide meeting, Zuckerberg openly criticized Apple, saying it has a “unique stranglehold as a gatekeeper on what gets on phones,” according to a report from BuzzFeed News

Zuckerberg also said that the App Store blocks innovation and competition and “allows Apple to charge monopoly rents,” BuzzFeed reported. 

Apple has been facing antitrust scrutiny from Congress and has been strongly criticized by developers — most notably “Fortnite” creator Epic Games — for the 30% fee it takes from App Store purchases. Apple recently blocked an update to Facebook’s iOS app that would have informed users about the fee Apple charges.

Apple’s latest software update has been angering Facebook since it was announced, as Facebook says the new privacy features could destroy part of its business.

WWDC 2020

In the latest version if Apple’s smartphone operating system, iOS, iPhone app developers will need to ask permission from users in order to collect and track their data. While this will affect any company who makes iOS apps, it will have a direct impact on Facebook’s advertising business: It uses data tracking to dictate which ads are served to users. 

In an August blog post, Facebook said it may be forced to shut down Audience Network for iOS, a tool that personalizes ads in third-party apps. 

“This is not a change we want to make, but unfortunately Apple’s updates to iOS 14 have forced this decision,” Facebook said. 

The complaints from Facebook and other developers led Apple to delay the new privacy tools until next year, saying it wanted to “give developers the time they need to make the necessary changes.”

Most recently, Facebook escalated the feud to a full-page ad in The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal.

In the new ads, Facebook is arguing that the changes will hurt small businesses who advertise on Facebook’s platform.

“Without personalized ads, Facebook data shows that the average small business advertiser stands to see a cut of over 60% in their sales for every dollar they spend,” the ad reads, which was posted by Twitter user Dave Stangis. 

Apple hit back, telling Business Insider’s Isobel Asher Hamilton that it was “standing up for our users.” 

“Users should know when their data is being collected and shared across other apps and websites — and they should have the choice to allow that or not,” an Apple spokesperson said.

Facebook said it would help Epic Games, the company behind “Fortnite,” in its legal battle with Apple.

tim cook fortnite epic games apple
A parody of Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, which appeared in a video streamed in “Fortnite.”

Epic Games is heading to trial with Apple next year over its suit claiming that Apple’s engages in anti-competitive behavior.

While Facebook isn’t joining the lawsuit, it is planning to help Epic with discovery for the trial. 

And Facebook is reportedly working on a lawsuit of its own that alleges Apple has abused its power in the app marketplace.

mark zuckerberg facebook
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Washington DC on Oct. 23, 2019.

According to a report from The Information, Facebook is preparing a lawsuit claiming that Apple has forced app developers to follow a different set of rules than Apple-made apps, such as requiring developers to use an in-app payments system, of which Apple takes a cut.  

Facebook has reportedly been working on the case for several months and has considered inviting other companies to join the suit. 

Zuckerberg also lashed out at Apple during Facebook’s fourth-quarter earnings call, saying the company frequently interferes with how Facebook’s apps work.

Mark Zuckerberg

When discussing Facebook’s suite of messaging apps during the conference call, Zuckerberg made a clear dig at Apple, saying the iPhone-maker made “misleading” privacy claims. 

“Now Apple recently released so-called nutrition labels, which focused largely on metadata that apps collect rather than the privacy and security of people’s actual messages, but iMessage stores non-end-to-end encrypted backups of your messages by default unless you disable iCloud,” Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg went on to describe Apple as “one of our biggest competitors” and said that because Apple is increasingly relying on services to fuel its business, it “has every incentive to use their dominant platform position to interfere with how our apps and other apps work, which they regularly do to preference their own.”

“This impacts the growth of millions of businesses around the world,” he added.

But Cook hasn’t backed down from his view that Facebook’s business model of harvesting user data and selling it to advertisers is harmful to consumers.

Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook.

During a speech at the European Computers, Privacy and Data Protection Conference, Cook discussed business models that prioritize user engagement and rely on user data to make money. Though he didn’t mention Facebook by name, Cook made several references that alluded to the platform.

“At a moment of rampant disinformation and conspiracy theories juiced by algorithms, we can no longer turn a blind eye to a theory of technology that says all engagement is good engagement — the longer the better — and all with the goal of collecting as much data as possible,” Cook said.

Facebook has launched another ad campaign aimed at proving the need for personalized advertising amid its ongoing battle with Apple.

Mark Zuckerberg

The initiative, titled “Good Ideas Deserve to be Found,” makes the case that personalized ads help Facebook users discover small businesses, particularly during the pandemic. 

“Every business starts with an idea, and being able to share that idea through personalized ads is a game changer for small businesses,” Facebook said in a blog post announcing the theme. “Limiting the use of personalized ads would take away a vital growth engine for businesses.”

The new campaign is Facebook’s latest effort to highlight the value of personalized ads ahead of Apple’s privacy crackdown — the new feature is expected to roll out this spring, and Facebook warned during its most recent earnings that it could begin affecting its business as early as the first quarter of 2021.

Cook called Facebook’s objections to the privacy update “flimsy arguments” during an interview with The New York Times.

Tim Cook

During a podcast interview with The Times’ Kara Swisher, Cook said that he believes society is in a privacy crisis and that he’s been “shocked” that there’s been pushback to the new feature to this degree. 

“We know these things are flimsy arguments,” Cook told The Times. “I think that you can do digital advertising and make money from digital advertising without tracking people when they don’t know they’re being tracked.”

Cook also said he doesn’t view Facebook as a competitor, contrary to what Zuckerberg has said.

“Oh, I think that we compete in some things,” Cook said. “But no, if I may ask who our biggest competitor are, they would not be listed. We’re not in the social networking business.”

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Mark Zuckerberg’s phone number appeared among the leaked data of Facebook users, according to a researcher

mark zuckerberg facebook
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

  • Mark Zuckerberg’s personal information appears to be among data posted on a hacking forum.
  • A cyber researcher said Facebook’s co-founders also had their information exposed.
  • Insider’s Aaron Holmes previously reported the leak, which affected more than 500 million users.

The cell-phone number of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is among the personal information leaked online in a low-level hacking forum, according to a researcher.

Multiple outlets reported the claims about Zuckerberg’s leaked personal information. Data including his name, location, and marriage details, birth date, and Facebook user ID was exposed, The Sun stated.

Insider’s Aaron Holmes had previously reported on the leak, which involved the personal information of more than 500 million Facebook users being posted in the forum.

Cyber researcher, Dave Walker, said Zuckerberg, as well as Facebook Inc’s co-founder, Chris Hughes, and Dustin Moskovitz, were among the 533 million users who had personal data posted on the forum.

“Regarding the #FacebookLeak, of the 533M people in the leak – the irony is that Mark Zuckerberg is regrettably included in the leak as well,” Walker tweeted.

When Insider contacted Facebook on Sunday, a spokesperson said: “This is old data that was previously reported on in 2019. We found and fixed this issue in August 2019.” They did not comment on the reports about Zuckerberg’s information.

Holmes reported, however, that the posting of the entire dataset on the hacking forum for free could now make it widely available to anyone with rudimentary data skills. His report quoted Alon Gal, CTO of cybercrime intelligence firm Hudson Rock, who first discovered the entire trough of leaked data online on Saturday.

Previous Facebook privacy breaches include the much-publicized Cambridge Analytica saga. In that incident, personal data from over 87 million Facebook users was improperly obtained by the political data-analytics firm.

Facebook was hit with a $5 billion fine from the Federal Trade Commission as part of a settlement over claims the company mishandled user data.

The company has vowed to clamp down on data breaches. In a post on its website in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica revelations, it said it would take action on potential past abuse and putting stronger protections in place to prevent future abuse.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Back to the ’90s with Microsoft and Intel

Hello, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Insider Tech newsletter, where we break down the biggest news in tech, including:

I’m your host Alexei Oreskovic. Hit me up with your thoughts, tips, rants and raves at

Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Sign up here.

Soundtrack: This week’s newsletter has been specially designed to be consumed while listening to Blur’s “Bettlebum.”

This week: Back to the ’90s with Microsoft and Intel

Satya Nadella

It’s been a long time since Intel and Microsoft – the much-feared “Wintel” duopoly of old – dominated business headlines and captivated the world’s attention in the same 24-hour period.

And yet this week felt like a return to the ’90s as the two tech giants’ latest moves had the industry buzzing. Let’s start with Intel, the fallen chip champion, which unveiled a big comeback plan on Tuesday.

  • After losing its chip manufacturing edge, Intel has been stuck in a business-model identity crisis. Should it split its manufacturing and design operations? Should it produce chips for other companies? Should it outsource its own production? Intel CEO Pat Gelisinger, just one month in the top job, gave his answer on Tuesday: Yes to all of the above!
  • Intel will double down on chip manufacturing, pouring $20 billion to build two new fabs in Arizona. The fabs will produce the most advanced chips for Intel, and for outside customers – a shrewd move that allows Intel to benefit from US and European anxieties about dependence on China, and to (eventually) tap into all the new chip buyers that have created today’s shortages.
  • But Intel will also use outside contract manufacturers, like TSMC, to produce some of its own chips. There’s something for everyone, though it still may not be enough to bring back Intel’s glory days, as Rosalie Chan reports.

Microsoft meanwhile has already gone through its reinvention. Under Satya Nadella’s now seven-year reign as CEO, the company has thrived by focusing on business customers and cloud computing.

File under curious…

my pillow ceo mike lindell documentary
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

Goodbye Vocl, Hello Frank. MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s social network hasn’t launched yet, but it’s already gone through a name change. Frank, as the service will be called, has nothing to do with frankfurters or Frank Sinatra. The name signifies the site’s antipathy to political correctness and its devotion to “forthright and sincere” expression.

WeWork’s SPAC Shaq attack. The office space sharing business has only gotten uglier in the 18 months since WeWork scrapped its IPO, with the pandemic turning downtown business centers into ghosttowns. But WeWork will get its public listing after all, thanks to the SPAC boom. The company will merge with BowX Acquisition Corp, a blank-check company that counts basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal as an advisor, in a deal that values WeWork at $9 billion – about one quarter of its $47 billion valuation in 2019.

Better than Zoom. Coronavirus vaccines have put the end of lockdowns in sight. But for those who’ve decided they actually enjoy staying indoors, the cloisered life won’t have to mean taking a vow of celibacy according to London-based Raspberry Dream Labs. The company is developing a virtual reality set up that delivers sounds, visuals and scents, as well as haptic pulses that provide a sense of being touched. Pandemic or not, the company believes the future of intimacy is remote.

Quote of the week:

“I don’t think we can expect that any platform will find every instance of harmful content. I think we should hold the platforms to be responsible for building generally effective systems of moderating this content.”

facebook zuckerberg misinformation hearing

– Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at Thursday’s Congressional hearing responding to a question about whether he should personally be held liable for damages caused by misinformation on Facebook.

Recommended Readings:

We identified the 194 most powerful people at Google under CEO Sundar Pichai. Check out our exclusive org chart.

Insiders say incoming Amazon CEO Andy Jassy picked a close ally when he hired Adam Selipsky to run its $51 billion cloud business – and it could make all the difference

Europe’s unicorn founders and investors want to make it easier to spread wealth and compete with Silicon Valley

LASHINSKY: After almost 6 years and billions of dollars, Google med-tech spinoff Verily is still a scattershot jumble of moonshots

Coinbase has become a ‘breeding ground’ for startup founders, with the company’s help and sometimes money, former employees say

A researcher turned down a $60k grant from Google because it ousted 2 top AI ethics leaders: ‘I don’t think this is going to blow over’

Not necessarily in tech:

Apollo’s hard-driving culture is extreme even by Wall Street standards, and it’s burning through young workers. Here’s why $450,000-plus pay and rules to ban weekend emails aren’t enough to keep them happy.

Sponsor content:

This startup CEO used his experience as a product designer for one of Japan’s top automakers to build a solution that is reshaping personal mobility

This woman CEO started a company that uses AI to eliminate mundane tasks and eventually achieve a 4-hour workday

Thanks for reading, and if you like this newsletter, tell your friends and colleagues they can sign up here to receive it.

– Alexei

Read the original article on Business Insider

Mark Zuckerberg claimed the reason Facebook keeps showing up in Capitol riot lawsuits is because it’s really helpful to police

zuckerberg congress WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 17: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies remotely during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing titled, "Breaking the News: Censorship, Suppression, and the 2020 Election" on Capitol Hill on November 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is also scheduled to testify remotely. (Photo by Hannah McKay-Pool/Getty Images)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before Congress remotely during a Senate hearing on November 17, 2020.

  • Facebook was cited in more legal docs about the Capitol riots than any other social-media platform.
  • Mark Zuckerberg told Congress it’s because Facebook has been cooperating with law enforcement.
  • On Thursday, he also downplayed Facebook’s role allowing misinformation and violence to spread.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a theory about why his company keeps showing up in legal documents surrounding the attempted insurrection on January 6: it’s just doing a really good job helping out with law enforcement’s investigations.

Last month, a report found Facebook was the most-widely referenced social-media platform in court documents used to charge 223 people with crimes in connection with Capitol attacks.

On Thursday, Congress hauled the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter, and Google-parent Alphabet in for a hearing to examine the role social media companies played in amplifying misinformation and allowing extremists to organize, and Zuckerberg was grilled about the report.

Rep. Paul Tonko, a Democrat from New York, asked Zuckerberg whether he still denied Facebook was a “significant megaphone for the lies that fueled the insurrection” amid “growing evidence” suggesting it was, including the charging documents.

“I think part of the reason why our services are very cited in the charging docs is because we worked closely with law enforcement to help identify the people who were there,” Zuckerberg said, adding that such “collaboration” shouldn’t “be seen as a negative reflection on our services.”

Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives have repeatedly downplayed the company’s role in the insurrection. COO Sheryl Sandberg said in mid-January the “Stop the Steal” rally, which immediately preceded the Capitol attacks, “were largely organized on platforms that don’t have our abilities to stop hate, and don’t have our standards, and don’t have our transparency.”

But numerous media and research reports have emerged since then showing that, despite its talk about cracking down, Facebook still allowed misinformation to spread widely and violence-promoting groups to gather.

A report from the research group Avaaz, released this week, found 267 violence-glorifying groups, with a combined audience of 32 million people, had “almost tripled their monthly interactions – from 97 million interactions in October 2019 to 277.9 million interactions in July 2020.”

Avaaz said 188 of those groups remained active despite “clear violations of Facebook’s policies,” and that even after contacting Facebook, the company still let 97 groups continue to use its platform.

Facebook executives have long known its groups-focused features have been a hotbed of extremism. The Wall Street Journal reported in January Facebook’s data scientists told the company 70% of its 100 most active “civic groups” were rife with hate speech, misinformation, bullying, and harassment.

“Our existing integrity systems,” they told executives, according to The Journal, “aren’t addressing these issues.”

Zuckerberg and others at Facebook, such as policy head Joel Kaplan, even killed or weakened projects aimed at stemming the flow of such content, The Journal previously reported.

Yet Zuckerberg this week continued to deny Facebook has a serious issue with how it moderates content.

“There was content on our services from some of [the insurrectionists],” he said. “I think that that was problematic, but by and large, I also think that by putting in place policies banning QAnon, banning militias, banning other conspiracy networks, we generally made our services inhospitable to a lot of these folks.”

So far, the evidence doesn’t appear to support Zuckerberg’s claims.

The Tech Transparency Project said it has been warning Facebook about the surge in far-right groups since last April, but continued to find “numerous instances of domestic extremists discussing weapons and tactics, coordinating their activities, and spreading calls to overthrow the government on Facebook, up to and including the mob attack on the Capitol.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Mark Zuckerberg says him ‘smoking meats’ is his favorite meme about himself

mark zuckerberg
  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed his favorite meme of himself in a Clubhouse chat Thursday.
  • Zuckerberg said a viral 2016 Facebook Live video of him smoking meats is the winner.
  • In the video, Zuckerberg also shared his love for Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Mark Zuckerberg has been the subject of countless memes, from a sunscreen-covered ride on his $12,000 electric surfboard to his robotic public speaking skills.

But it turns out that the Facebook CEO likes some of those memes more than others.

In a Clubhouse chat on Thursday, host and venture capitalist Josh Constine asked Zuckerberg how he feels about his meme-worthiness and whether he has a favorite.

Zuckerberg’s response: a now-infamous, 32-minute long Facebook Live video from 2016 where he publicly and repeatedly professed his love for grilling meats.

“Probably, if I had to go with a favorite, I think it’s gotta be ‘smoking meats,'” he said. “I do love grilling and cooking, and that was silly, and I appreciate that everyone enjoys it.”

In the video, which has been viewed a total of 11 million times, Zuckerberg streams live from his backyard as he gleefully slow-cooks brisket and ribs while getting ready to watch the US presidential debate between then-candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Zuckerberg also repeatedly confessed his affinity for Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce during the 2016 livestream, prompting Constine to tell him Thursday: “If you ever quit your job as Facebook CEO, you have a great sponsorship deal lined up for them.”

That wasn’t the only time Zuckerberg let the world in on his cookouts, going live from the grill again in 2017, where he also reignited a long-running feud with Elon Musk by stating his optimism about the future of artificial intelligence.

Zuckerberg has also shared other details about his carnivorous habits, saying while he no longer personally hunts the animals he eats, that he does go bowhunting for wild boars.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Facebook has announced it will offer up to 20 days paid time off to employees who suffer domestic abuse or sexual assault

Sheryl Sandberg
Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg.

  • Facebook has announced it will give all staff who suffer domestic abuse 20 days of paid leave.
  • COO Sheryl Sandberg told a Bloomberg summit it also applied to staff whose relatives or household members were victims.
  • She referenced rising reports of domestic abuse amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said on Wednesday the company would now offer paid leave to employees who suffer domestic violence or sexual assault.

Facebook staff will be able to take up to 20 days of paid time off if they, a family member, or a household member are experiencing violence and sexual assault at home, Sandberg said at the Bloomberg Equality Summit.

Sandberg said this was prompted by rising reports of domestic violence amid the global lockdowns of COVID-19, saying, “We all have a responsibility to do what we can to prevent it and help those who go through these awful experiences.”

“It’s a situation where you need paid time off, and not just for yourself but for a loved one,” she said. “This is us really recognizing that this is something that affects everyone, including our employees.”

After the summit, Sandberg wrote on Facebook that the 20 days policy could be for “seeking medical attention, or support from a domestic abuse shelter, victims’ services organization or rape crisis center, or to relocate temporarily or permanently if they need to.”

Facebook previously allowed US employees who were themselves victims of domestic violence to take unpaid leave, Bloomberg reported.

Facebook didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request to comment.

A company spokesperson told Bloomberg that employees who have told their managers they have to take emergency leave will later be identified as a domestic abuse victims in Facebook’s internal systems.

Only human resources managers have access to these systems, they said.

Facebook also provides an additional 10 weeks of COVID-19 leave for employees to recover from the virus or to care for their children or elderly relatives, Sandberg said in an interview with Axios on March 8.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Facebook announced a new plan to help users make COVID-19 vaccine appointments

Mark Zuckerberg
  • Facebook partnered with Boston Children’s Hospital to help users find nearby COVID-19 vaccine sites.
  • The tech firm will also label all COVID-19 vaccine posts with World Health Organization information.
  • “The data shows the vaccines are safe and they work,” Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Facebook announced a plan on Monday morning to help get people on the platform vaccinated.

Facebook partnered with Boston Children’s Hospital to build a tool that helps American users find nearby vaccine sites. They’ll see the hours of operation and contact information for vaccine sites, and can access an external link to make an appointment.

The VaccineFinder tool will be offered in 71 different languages. Insider has reached out to Facebook for more information on the exact timing of the tool’s rollout.

More than 69.6 million adults in the US – or about 27% of the population over 18 – has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose as of March 15, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor Anthony Fauci said between 70% to 90% of Americans must get vaccinated to reach herd immunity, or when uncontrolled spread stops.

The number of daily vaccines administered has shot up in the last month, but some eligible groups, like non-English speaking immigrants and seniors without internet access, still struggle with getting vaccine appointments.

Facebook will also release a new Instagram Stories sticker for users who got vaccinated to share their experience with followers, and lauch WhatsApp chatbots in Brazil, Indonesia, and Argentina that help users make vaccine appointments.

“The data shows the vaccines are safe and they work,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post on Monday. “They’re our best hope for getting past this virus and getting back to normal life.”

In addition to helping users make vaccine appointments, Facebook announced a new label that contains information from the World Health Organization. Facebook will roll out the label on “all posts generally about COVID-19 vaccines” as a way to prevent misinformation from spreading. The vaccine label will appear globally in English, Spanish, Indonesian, Portuguese, Arabic, and French.

Facebook has made moves throughout the pandemic to curb misinformation, but false claims regarding COVID-19 on social media have marred the country’s response. Avaaz, a US non-profit, found 84% of Facebook posts containing medical misinformation were left online with no labels or warnings. Insider’s Rob Price reported doctors with verified Facebook accounts shared fake claims about COVID-19 with their hundreds of thousands of followers.

“We’re a year into a global pandemic, to which vaccines offer our only way out, and these accounts have been spreading falsehoods to deter people from getting vaccinated consistently,” Imran Ahmed, CEO of the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate, recently told Insider. “Their lies, and Facebook’s giving them a platform, have almost certainly cost lives.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and other moguls reportedly made more than $360 billion during the pandemic

Jeff Bezos
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

  • The wealth of Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and others rose beyond $360 billion during the pandemic.
  • Oracle and Dell’s leaders are among the other tech billionaires to have profited last year.
  • Their wealth has attracted scrutiny amid systemic inequality in the US.

The pandemic has been a crisis for many, but not for America’s wealthiest billionaires.

The wealth of nine of the country’s top tech titans escalated beyond $360 billion last year, The Washington Post reported.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ title as the world’s richest person was challenged as Tesla CEO Elon Musk more than quintupled his wealth. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg exceeded the $100 billion mark. Google co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin acquired a combined fortune of $65 billion.

Apple’s market capitalisation topped the $2 trillion mark last year, making its CEO, Tim Cook, a billionaire, per The Washington Post.

Amazon has substantially profited from people shopping online during the pandemic. Consumer demand at the beginning of the crisis was so high that Amazon and other retailers faced supply shortages of items such as toilet paper and disinfectant.

As companies shifted to remote-work models, employees relied more heavily on cloud computing services, where customers rent data storage from companies including Google, Facebook, and Microsoft.

Google and Facebook also benefited from a rebound in online marketing, as well as the need for sustainable communication tools, which included Google Classroom and Facebook-owned WhatsApp, per The Washington Post.

Affluent consumers, who were less likely to become unemployed during the pandemic, benefitted from an increase in disposable income by staying at home, helping Tesla’s shares soar 547% last year.

These tech titans are not the only billionaires whose wealth ballooned. According to Yahoo Finance, Oracle’s executive chairman and CTO, Larry Ellison, saw his net worth rise from $59 billion to $90.3 billion in the last year. The net worth of Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Technologies, rose from $22.9 billion to $44.4 billion in the same time period.

The significant rise in their gains sharply contrasts with the economic destruction faced by millions of Americans, as unemployment and evictions soared. This highlighted deep-rooted societal issues of inequality and the ever-expanding wealth gap.

A recent report also showed American billionaires could fund two-thirds of Biden’s COVID-19 relief package just using profits generated during the pandemic.

Read the original article on Business Insider

American billionaires could fund two-thirds of Biden’s COVID-19 relief package just using profits generated during the pandemic, a report shows

Jeff Bezos Bill Gates Elon Musk
Bill Gates and Elon Musk.

  • The total wealth of US billionaires rose $1.3 trillion amid the pandemic, the ATF and IPS said.
  • This could fund two-thirds of Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 rescue plan.
  • The momentum for measures that address wealth inequality has grown during the pandemic.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

American billionaires have earned so much money during the pandemic that they could fund two-thirds of President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 relief package using profits generated in the last year, a report shows.

The combined fortune of American billionaires rose around $1.3 trillion, or 44%, from March 2020 to March 2021, Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) said.

This increase is equivalent to two-thirds of the $1.9 trillion cost of Biden’s pandemic rescue plan, which he signed into law Thursday.

The total jump in wealth for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the pandemic would fund almost all of the relief plan’s supplemental $300 weekly unemployment benefits for the next six months, the groups said.

The groups based their analysis on Forbes data.

As of Wednesday, the US’ 657 billionaires were worth a combined $4.2 trillion, the ATF and IPS said. Under current tax laws, none of this would be taxed during their lifetimes, unless the underlying assets are sold at a gain, they said.

Momentum for measures that address wealth inequality, such as through a wealth tax, has grown during the pandemic as the world’s billionaires have grown richer while other people sunk into unemployment.

Argentina became the first country to respond to the pandemic with a one-off “millionaire tax.” Fewer than one in 100 earners will pay the tax, which the government hopes will raise $3.78 billion to help pay for its pandemic response.

Earlier this month, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts proposed an Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act for the US. This would apply an annual 2% tax on individual net worth between $50 million and $1 billion, or 3% on net worth above $1 billion.

The ATF and IPS said if the tax had been in place in 2020, US billionaires would have paid a combined $114 billion.

The number of billionaires in the US increased 7% during the pandemic, the groups said. Musk alone increased his wealth by $141.6 billion, or nearly seven-fold, over the last 12 months.

During this time period, Americans have made more than 80 million filings for unemployment benefits.

Biden is addressing some of the economic fallout of the pandemic through his relief plan, which includes $1,400 stimulus payments for most taxpayers and an expansion of the child tax credit.

Not a single Republican in either chamber of Congress voted for the package, saying it was unnecessary and too expensive.

“The relief package will ease some of the suffering, but it is temporary,” Chuck Collins, director of the Program on Inequality at IPS, said. “We also need to permanently address the underlying economic conditions that the pandemic exposed.”

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Facebook asks judge to throw out antitrust lawsuits filed by FTC and state attorneys general

mark zuckerberg congress WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 23: Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg leaves the Rayburn House Office Building after testifying before the House Financial Services Committee for six hours on Capitol Hill October 23, 2019 in Washington, DC. Zuckerberg testified about Facebook's proposed cryptocurrency Libra, how his company will handle false and misleading information by political leaders during the 2020 campaign and how it handles its users’ data and privacy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
There’s a growing appetite in Congress for increased regulation of internet platforms like Facebook.

  • Facebook motioned to dismiss two antitrust suits filed against the tech giant on December 9.
  • Facebook argues the FTC does not have evidence to prove Facebook broke the Sherman Antitrust Act.
  • The tech giant also said state attorneys general waited too long to file their lawsuit.
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Facebook has motioned to dismiss two lawsuits that aim to break up the tech giant.

The firm filed motions asking to dismiss lawsuits filed by the Federal Trade Commission and 48 state attorneys general on December 9. The suits alleged Facebook neutralizes competitors – like by buying WhatsApp and Instagram – before they can threaten the social media giant’s dominance.

Facebook argued the suits fail to provide enough evidence that the tech giant engaged in anticompetitive practices. For instance, the social media giant does not have monopoly power over prices because it offers products for free, the motion argues.

Regarding the attorney general suit, Facebook argues the states waited too long to act, and cannot prove that Instagram and WhatsApp would have been competitors to the social media giant.

Read more: Wall Street pours cold water on the Facebook breakup party: ‘The courts won’t buy this.’

“Over the many years since the government cleared the Instagram and WhatsApp mergers, this competition has only gotten more fierce, and consumers have benefitted enormously from Facebook’s investments in these free apps,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to Insider. ” The government ignores these realities and attempts to rewrite history with its unprecedented lawsuit.”

The US has threatened to break up tech giants, including Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Google, for years. The Department of Justice filed an anticipated lawsuit against Google’s alleged exclusionary business deals in October.

Experts previously told Insider the suits are unlikely to lead to a break up of WhatsApp and Instagram from Facebook but will pave the way for greater tech oversight.

President Joe Biden is planning on stacking his administration with antitrust advocates as insiders expect him to strengthen tech regulation.

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