- Zuckerberg is trying to put WhatsApp above Apple’s iMessage on 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 been a blow to Facebook’s advertising 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 that jokes about iMessage’s 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 Monday on Instagram.
Some users have long complained about this poor cross-device messaging experience, along with low-quality compressed videos, lack of read receipts, group text difficulties, and emoticons not sending properly.
Google slammed Apple on this topic earlier this year, devoting a rare spot under its online search bar. Google said Apple converts texts sent between iPhones and Androids 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 resisted making iMessage more interoperable with Android phones, as technical difficulties help sell more iPhones.
Zuckerberg also had another motive for criticizing iMessage. Facebook, which last year changed its company name to Meta, recently launched a major marketing campaign for WhatsApp, pushing the security aspects and privacy features of the platform.
Alongside WhatsApp’s New York poster campaign photo, Zuckerberg added that the platform allows users to make chats “disappear with the push of a button” and “backups.” end-to-end encrypted” have been available since last year. “Everything iMessage still doesn’t have,” he wrote.
Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014 for $22 billion and the company is lately looking to the platform as a potential source of revenue growth as other parts of the business’ growth stall. Its business, made up almost entirely of digital advertising, took a $10 billion hit due to privacy changes Apple implemented last year. In an update to its iOS, Apple urged its more than 1.6 billion device users to opt out of being tracked by apps. Such tracking is how companies like Facebook have built reliable user targeting for advertisers and become one of the biggest companies in the world.
This isn’t the first time Zuckerberg has tried to come on Apple business since enacting its privacy changes. At Facebook’s Connect Developer Conference last week, Zuckerberg and other executives repeatedly referenced their hope and belief that their Oculus headsets and metaverse developments could one day replace the laptop. “At the end of the day, we believe your Oculus will be the only workspace you really need,” CTO Andrew Bosworth said at the event.
Zuckerberg has previously cited Apple as a competitor, prompting Cook to say last year that he doesn’t think of Facebook the same way. “If I can ask who our main competitors are, they wouldn’t be listed. We’re not in the social media business.”
An apparent dislike between the two executives dates back to at least 2014, when Cook first publicly criticized Facebook’s business model. During an interview, Cook questioned companies that make money “by collecting tons of personal data” and told those that do, “I think you have every right to be concerned.”
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