Jun 5, 2018

It's on: Apple vs. Facebook

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Apple didn't shy away from criticizing Silicon Valley rival Facebook Monday at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in California.

Why it matters: The feud is part of a bigger battle brewing between the two companies over their governing philosophies and practices.

"We think privacy is a fundamental human right ... I think the privacy thing has gotten totally out of control."
— Apple CEO Tim Cook to CNN's Laurie Segall
  • The remarks were made in conjunction with the announcement Monday that Apple would be shutting down "like" buttons that track Internet activity of users logged into certain social platforms, like Facebook.
  • Apple showed an image of a Safari browser blocking "Facebook.com" from using cookies and website data in a demo on stage.
  • Facebook was quick to fire back: "If this is about protecting privacy, and not just cute virtue signaling, then they should block all 3rd party JS and pixels," Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos tweeted.

Apple also highlighted new features to help customers better manage the amount of time and attention they devote to their devices, as well as parental controls, another not-so-subtle reference to criticism Facebook (along with other tech companies) has recently faced, per Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva.

  • Earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook took a swipe at Facebook, arguing his company would never have been in a situation like Facebook's when it comes to user privacy because it elects not to make the consumer's data "the product" the company is selling. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg later called his criticism "glib."

The quarrel comes as Facebook is facing Congressional inquiries over a New York Times report that it gave device partners (including Apple) access to user data, which could have potentially violated a regulatory decree.

  • But as Axios' Scott Rosenberg points out, many people aren't understanding what Facebook was doing. For the most part it was letting phone makers either build their own Facebook apps, or include direct Facebook posting into their products.

Both firms are also trying to navigate the ever-complicated news business, with Apple announcing Monday that it's bringing its Apple News product to Macbooks and Facebook announcing last week that it's ending its Trending Topics news feature, in an effort to reportedly replace it with curated news shows.

The two companies are currently nearly neck and neck when it comes to current trade value, although Apple's market value is nearly 70% higher than Facebook's.

Go deeper: Axios' Ina Fried has a full run-down of all developer conference updates.

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Netanyahu says July 1 deadline for West Bank annexation won't change

Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday at a Likud Party faction meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, that his July 1 deadline for starting the process of annexation in the West Bank will not change, according to people in attendance.

Why it matters: The White House and the State Department have stressed over the last few weeks that the deadline set by Netanyahu is "not sacred" to the Trump administration — and that any discussion of annexation needs to be in the context of renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina if capacity reduced

President Trump on stage during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Ohio. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

President Trump threatened in a series of Monday tweets to move this summer's Republican National Convention from Charlotte if North Carolina's Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, doesn't allow the event to be held at full capacity.

The state of play: Mandy Cohen, the state's health and human services secretary, said last week that the GOP should "plan for the worst" as mass gatherings will be a "very big challenge" if the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to increase, per NPR.

The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.