- Zuckerberg is looking to put WhatsApp above Apple’s iMessage in terms of interoperability and privacy.
- He said the Facebook-owned app is actually “much more private and secure” than Apple’s.
- Apple’s recent privacy changes have proved to be a huge hit for Facebook’s ad-based business.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg slammed Apple’s iMessage on Monday, criticizing the lack of interoperability between iPhones and Android devices.
He posted a photo of a Facebook billboard joking about iMessage limitations that make Android messages appear in green bubbles, while iPhone texts appear in blue bubbles.
“WhatsApp is much more private and secure than iMessage, with end-to-end encryption that works on both iPhone and Android, including group chats,” Zuckerberg wrote on Instagram Monday.
Some users have long complained about this poor cross-device messaging experience, as well as poor quality compressed videos, lack of read receipts, group text difficulties, and emojis not sending correctly.
Google attacked Apple on this topic earlier this year, dedicating a rare spot under its online search bar. Google said Apple converts text sent between iPhone and Android to SMS and MMS, which are decades-old methods of sending text-only messages from device to device. Google wants Apple to use its RCS system instead. Apple CEO Tim Cook has opposed making iMessage more interoperable with Android phones because technical difficulties help sell more iPhones.
Zuckerberg also had another reason to criticize iMessage. Facebook, which changed its corporate name to Meta last year, recently launched a major marketing campaign for WhatsApp, pushing the platform’s security aspects and privacy features.
Alongside the photo of the WhatsApp ad campaign in New York, Zuckerberg added that the platform allows users to set up chats to “disappear at the touch of a button” and “end-to-end encrypted backups” have been available since last year. “Everything iMessage doesn’t have yet,” he wrote her.
Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014 for $ 22 billion, and lately the company is turning to the platform as a potential source of revenue growth as other growing parts of the company stall. Its business, consisting almost entirely of digital advertising, took a $ 10 billion hit due to Apple’s privacy changes last year. In an update to its iOS, Apple asked its more than 1.6 billion device users to forgo app monitoring. Such tracking is how companies like Facebook have created reliable user targeting for advertisers and become one of the largest companies in the world.
This isn’t the first time Zuckerberg has attempted to come for Apple’s business since he enacted his privacy changes. At Facebook’s Connect developer conference last week, Zuckerberg and other executives referred multiple times to their hope and belief that its Oculus headsets and metaverse developments could someday replace the laptop. “Ultimately we think your Oculus will be the only workspace you actually need,” CTO Andrew Bosworth said at the event.
Zuckerberg previously cited Apple as a competitor, prompting Cook last year to say he didn’t think of Facebook 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.”
An apparent antipathy between the two executives dates back to at least 2014, when Cook publicly criticized Facebook’s business model for the first time. In an interview, Cook questioned companies that make money “by collecting huge amounts of personal data” and said for those that do, “I think you have a right to be concerned.”
Are you a Facebook / Meta employee or someone with information to share? Contact Kali Hays at firstname.lastname@example.org, on the secure messaging app Signal at 949-280-0267 or via Twitter DM at @hayskali. Contact using a non-working device.