‘WhatsApp far more private’: Mark Zuckerberg takes a shot at Apple and iMessage

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has criticised Apple’s iMessage as being less secure and private in comparison to WhatsApp in a new ad campaign. Zuckerberg made the critical comments in a post that was shared on his public Facebook and Instagram pages. The comments are also accompanied by an advertising image directly comparing iMessage’s Green and Blue bubble approach vs the ‘Private’ bubble on WhatsApp.

In a message, Zuckerberg wrote, “WhatsApp is far more private and secure than iMessage, with end-to-end encryption that works across both iPhones and Android, including group chats.” He also pointed out that WhatsApp supports the ability to let all new chats disappear and it also comes with “end-to-end encrypted backups too.” That last bit is important and Zuckerberg knows this too. That’s because Apple’s iMessage does not have end-to-end encryption for iCloud backups.

Zuckerberg ends his status by saying, “All of which iMessage still doesn’t have,” in a scathing criticism of Apple’s popular iMessage service. As The Verge notes, Meta is going on a full frontal assault on iMessage in the US. Apple’s messaging platform is very popular in the US as several reports have noted, especially among teens and college students. It looks like Meta wants to change the narrative in WhatsApp’s favour.

Read more |WhatsApp: How to enable end-to-end encrypted backup

According to The Verge, a Meta spokesperson said that this same privacy-focused ad “will appear on broadcast TV, digital video, outdoor, and social across the United States.” This appears to be part of a larger campaign to increase WhatsApp’s user base in the US.

For context, there are plenty of reasons for Meta to be critical of Apple. Since Apple introduced its ‘App Tracking Transparency’ feature in April 2021, advertising for social media companies such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc has been negatively impacted. The feature ensures that social media companies cannot track a user’s data across other apps or websites. One report estimated that the feature will cost Facebook close to $22 billion in 2022 alone. The feature was introduced with iOS 14.5.

Apple itself has also been openly critical of social media networks such as Facebook itself. In January last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook was quoted as saying, “At a moment of rampant disinformation and conspiracy theories juiced by algorithms, we can no longer turn a blind eye to a theory of technology that says all engagement is good engagement — the longer the better — and all with the goal of collecting as much data as possible.” This was seen as a jab at Facebook– though Cook did not name any companies as such.

And Apple has always touted its products as being more private, more secure, compared to those of rivals.  Of course, Zuckerberg’s criticism of Apple over privacy is interesting. But he does have a point that WhatsApp is offering end-to-end encryption for backups as well, meaning no third party can access these either. And that’s something iMessage does not offer yet. Keep in mind that all iMessage and FaceTime calls are end-to-end encrypted meaning that no third party, including Apple, can access or intercept them.

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