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Woz quits Facebook over privacy concerns

by on10 April 2018

Users get none of the profits back

The brains behind Apple, dancing queen and all round good bloke Steve Wozniak has quit the social notworking site Facebook over growing concern for the carelessness with which Facebook and other Internet companies treat the private information of users.

Woz said that users provide every detail of their life to Facebook and ... Facebook makes a lot of advertising money off this. Facebook's profits are all based on the user’s info, but the "users get none of the profits back".

Wozniak said he'd rather pay for Facebook than have his personal information exploited for advertising. And he heaped praise on Apple for respecting people's privacy.

"Apple makes its money off of good products, not off of you", Wozniak said. "As they say, with Facebook, you are the product."

Of course Apple does charge people a huge mark up and refuses to spend its huge cash pile researching new and interesting products, so it could be considered as doing somethng similar.  The only difference is that it is not making money from advertising.

Wozniak said he was taken aback by the extent of Facebook's data collection when he changed and deleted some of his information before deactivating his account.

"I was surprised to see how many categories for ads and how many advertisers I had to get rid of, one at a time. I did not feel that this is what people want done to them," he said. "Ads and spam are bad things these days and there are no controls over them. Or transparency."

Still, breaking up with Facebook isn't easy. Wozniak chose not to delete his Facebook account. He didn't mind bidding farewell to his 5,000 Facebook friends, many of whom he says he doesn't know. But he didn't want to give up his "stevewoz" screen name.

Apple CEO Tim Cook started a campaign in late March in an attempt to convince the world that Apple cares about users – at least when it comes to privacy. During a joint interview with Recode and MSNBC, he was asked what he would do about the crisis if he were in Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's position. He added that Apple reviews apps to confirm that each one meets the privacy standards his company has required for users.

Cook also questioned the practice of social media platforms monetising the personal data of their users.  Zuckerberg hit back in a subsequent interview with Vox, calling Cook's comments "extremely glib" and pointing out that Cook has built a service which is financed by rich people.

"If you want to build a service which is not just serving rich people, then you need to have something that people can afford", said Zuckerberg.

Championing his own company's business model, Zuckerberg also said: "At Facebook, we are squarely in the camp of the companies that work hard to charge you less and provide a free service that everyone can use. I don’t think at all that that means that we don’t care about people."

Last modified on 10 April 2018
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