At a taping of Recode’s “Revolution” MSNBC special last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook criticized Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg — which are embroiled in a privacy scandal — saying that it’s too late for Facebook to self-regulate, that he “wouldn’t be” in Zuckerberg’s situation, and that Apple’s business model — selling products to customers instead of selling their attention — lets it better serve its users.
Today Zuckerberg is firing back, calling Cook’s comments “extremely glib and not at all aligned with the truth.”
In a podcast interview with Vox’s Ezra Klein, Zuckerberg said that argument isn’t fair because Facebook uses advertising revenue to keep its platform free to use, and went so far as to warn people not to “get Stockholm syndrome” and believe that companies charging them are inherently better.
Here’s Zuckerberg’s response in full:
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. The reality here is that if you want to build a service that helps connect everyone in the world, then there are a lot of people who can’t afford to pay. And therefore, as with a lot of media, having an advertising-supported model is the only rational model that can support building this service to reach people.
That doesn’t mean that we’re not primarily focused on serving people. I think probably to the dissatisfaction of our sales team here, I make all of our decisions based on what’s going to matter to our community and focus much less on the advertising side of the business.
But if you want to build a service which is not just serving rich people, then you need to have something that people can afford. I thought Jeff Bezos had an excellent saying on this in one of his Kindle launches a number of years back. He said, “There are companies that work hard to charge you more, and there are companies that work hard to charge you less.” And 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. To the contrary, 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. Because that sounds ridiculous to me.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.