Facebook issue statement to clarify iPhone ban controversy

Picture: New York Times/Reuters

Mark Zuckerberg stirred up a cloud of controversy when he allegedly ordered his team at Facebook to stop using iPhones and use Android devices instead. Naturally, this invited plenty of conversations and opinions from all over, but did Zuckerberg actually do it?

Before we answer that, let’s start from the beginning.

According to a New York Times article — Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis — the call to stop using Apple devices was apparently a response to Apple CEO Tim Cook’s statement in an interview in which he implied that Facebook exploits user data for profits. In an MSNBC interview, Cook said “we’re not going to traffic in your personal life”, seemingly this was a response to the question, what would he do if he was Mark Zuckerberg. In the same interview he went on to say “Privacy to us is a human right. It’s a civil liberty.”

Understandably, this infuriated Zuckerberg to a point where he apparently urged his management to use only Android phones. There are more Android users than iPhone users he argues, and this was when the internet went abuzz with the stories. Now, Facebook wants to clear the air.

In a blog post. Facebook made this clarification on the matter:

“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. And we’ve long encouraged our employees and executives to use Android because it is the most popular operating system in the world.”

So are the people at Facebook throwing away their iPhones for Android phones just cause Zuckerberg said that they have to? Hard to say but we don’t think so. Facebook develop apps for both iOS and Android, and in most cases, the experience of using these apps are better on iOS. It benefits the company to play nice with both platforms and a quick scan on Twitter reveals that several people from the management team at Facebook are still tweeting from their iPhones.

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Perhaps what Zuckerberg said was a spur of the moment thing, something that was maybe taken out of context. Or maybe he did mean what he said, and the blog post is Facebook on damage control mode. What exactly happened, I may never know.