Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook said new regulations for the tech industry are “inevitable“ in the wake of a series of scandals, rejoining a debate that is intensifying along with political pressure on the company’s rival, Facebook.
In an interview to be aired on Sunday, Mr Cook said “the free market is not working“ and politicians will step in.
His comments come amid simmering tension between Apple and Facebook. Earlier this week, Facebook was accused of using underhand tactics as it struggled to contain the fallout from Russian interference on the social network and controversy over the leak of user data to Cambridge Analytica, the research firm.
Facebook’s actions, reported by the New York Times, included contracting with Definers, a Republican-leaning consultancy, which attempted to smear competitors and opponents on its behalf.
據《紐約時報》(New York Times)報道，Facebook的行為包括與傾向共和黨的咨詢公司Definers簽約，后者試圖為其詆毀競爭對手和反對者。
In an interview with the Axios website taped before those revelations which will be broadcast on HBO on Sunday night, Mr Cook said the tech industry should embrace regulation.
“Generally speaking, I am not a big fan of regulation,“ he said. “I’m a big believer in the free market. But we have to admit when the free market is not working. And it hasn’t worked here. I think it’s inevitable that there will be some level of regulation . . . I think Congress and the administration at some point will pass something.“
A Definers’ affiliate called NTK Network posted dozens of articles blasting Apple and Google for “unsavoury business practices“, including calling Mr Cook hypocritical for criticising Facebook over privacy, it was reported.
Definers told the NYT that their work on Apple was funded by a different technology company. Facebook has denied it paid Definers to smear anyone and cancelled its contract with the company.
Facebook was also reported to have told employees to ditch their iPhones for Android alternatives. Facebook said this was because Android is the largest global operating system.
Mr Cook has tried to put clear water between Apple, which makes most of its money from selling hardware, and advertising-based tech platforms, particularly Facebook, on the issue of privacy.
“This is not a matter of privacy versus profits, or privacy versus technical innovation. That’s a false choice,“ he told Axios.
US politicians have been discussing how to regulate tech companies for the last two years on issues that vary widely, including privacy, political advertising and competition concerns.