• Steve Wozniak, the cofounder of Apple, told USA Today he was quitting Facebook.
  • Wozniak said he didn't like the way the company collected user data for advertising purposes.
  • His remarks also cast Apple in an awfully flattering light, as Facebook approaches a low in terms of public opinion.


Apple's cofounder Steve Wozniak has said he plans to quit Facebook because he doesn't think the company respects user privacy or data.

"Users provide every detail of their life to Facebook and ... Facebook makes a lot of advertising money off this," Wozniak wrote in an email to USA Today. "The profits are all based on the user's info, but the users get none of the profits back."

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

Wozniak is referring to a common argument here: that consumers who use free services on the internet provided by Google and Facebook are paying with their data, rather than with money, because those companies track their browsing and internet use to sell ads against that information.

Apple, on the other hand, charges a lot of money for the iPhone but doesn't use customers' information for ads.

Wozniak also said he would rather pay a fee to Facebook than have his information used for advertising.

Wozniak's #deleteFacebook moment is well-timed for Apple

A cynic might wonder about the timing of Wozniak's comments. They coincide with Facebook approaching a low publicly and politically amid the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

For tech-savvy people like Wozniak, the scandal simply encapsulates what privacy activists have been warning about for years. But the revelation that Facebook has allowed third parties relatively easy access to user data has given those questions a higher profile.

The scandal has also sparked public sniping between Apple CEO Tim Cook, who said Facebook's situation was "dire," and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who described those remarks as "glib."

Apple executives, current and former, therefore seem to think it is an opportune time to play up the company's strengths in privacy.

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