- Zuckerberg is trying to put WhatsApp above Apple’s iMessage in terms of interoperability and privacy.
- He said the Facebook-owned app is actually “more private and secure” than Apple’s.
- Apple’s recent privacy changes have proven to be a huge blow to Facebook’s ad-based business.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg blasted Apple’s iMessage service on Monday, criticizing the lack of interoperability between iPhone and Android devices.
Posting an image of a Facebook billboard ad joking about iMessage restrictions that make Android messages appear in green bubbles, iPhone texts appear in blue bubbles.
“WhatsApp is more private and secure than iMessage, with end-to-end encryption that works across both iPhone and Android, including group chats,” Zuckerberg wrote on Instagram Monday.
Some users have long lamented the poor cross-device messaging experience, as well as poor quality compressed videos, lack of read receipts, group text difficulties, and emojis not sending properly.
Google criticized Apple on this subject earlier this year, assigning a rare place below its Internet search bar. Google said Apple is converting texts sent between iPhones and Android devices to SMS and MMS, which are old ways of sending text-only messages from device to device. Google wants Apple to use RCS instead. Apple CEO Tim Cook has resisted making iMessage more interoperable with Android phones as technical difficulties help sell more iPhones.
Zuckerberg also had another motive to criticize iMessage. Facebook, which changed the company’s name last year to Meta, recently launched a major marketing campaign for WhatsApp, pushing the platform’s security aspects and privacy features.
Alongside the New York WhatsApp Billboard campaign image, Zuckerberg added that the platform allows users to set chats to “disappear with the push of a button” and that “end-to-end encrypted backups” have been available since last year. “All that iMessage still lacks,” he wrote.
Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014 for $22 billion and the company has recently been turning to the platform as a potential source of revenue growth as other parts of the company’s growth have stalled. The business, which consists almost entirely of digital advertising, has received $10 billion in revenue due to privacy changes Apple implemented last year. In an update to its iOS system, Apple asked its more than 1.6 billion users to opt out of tracking apps. Such tracking is how companies like Facebook created trusted user targeting for advertisers and became one of the largest in the world.
This isn’t the first time Zuckerberg has tried to come into Apple’s business since it made privacy changes. During Facebook’s Connect developer conference last week, Zuckerberg and other CEOs several times indicated their hope and belief that Oculus headphones and metaverse developments could one day replace the laptop. “Ultimately, we believe your Oculus will be the only workspace you really need,” said Andrew Bosworth, CTO during the event.
Zuckerberg has previously cited Apple as a competitor, leading Cook to say last year that he didn’t think of Facebook in the same way. “If I may ask who our biggest competitors are, they wouldn’t be listed. We’re not in the social networking business.”
The apparent hatred among executives goes back to at least 2014, when Cook publicly criticized Facebook’s business model. During an interview, Cook questioned which companies are making money “by collecting large amounts of personal data,” and he said to those who do, “I think you have a right to be concerned.”
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