Home News  calls and "Two scorpions in a bottle"

Bilahari Kausikan calls Facebook and Apple “Two scorpions in a bottle”

Mr Kausikan said that there was a general consensus among nations that social media companies as a whole have grown too big and need to be reined in




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Singapore—Retired diplomat commented on the ongoing feud between tech giants and , calling the two companies, “Two scorpions in a bottle.” 

Mr Kauiskan, who served as the Ambassador-at-Large and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, posted a link to an article from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) about the latest round of strife between Apple and Facebook, entitled “Facebook Meets Apple in Clash of the Tech Titans—‘We Need to Inflict Pain’”.

The most recent clash between the two company’s CEOs, Apple’s Tim Cook and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, center around privacy and competing visions of the nature of the internet.

The animosity between the two has gotten very sharp, with Mr Zuckerberg reportedly saying to some of his staff, “We need to inflict pain” in reference to Apple and Mr Cook.

However, Mr Kausikan wrote, “But don’t forget that if there is one thing China, the US, and Europe can agree on, it is that social media companies (including Chinese companies) have grown too big and need to be reined in whether by tighter regulation or the more direct methods favoured by the CCP.”

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The disagreement between Mr Cook and Mr Zuckerberg dates a few years back, to 2018 when the social media giant got into trouble over its practices in data-collection, Mr Cook publicly said in an interview that Apple would never have gotten into the same kind of trouble, given its pro-privacy stance.

Angered, Mr Zuckerberg called the remark “extremely glib” and “not at all aligned with the truth.”

The latest round was sparked after Apple said it would start asking Facebook users on its devices for permission for the app to collect their data and if they refuse, Apple would disallow Facebook from doing so.

Apple also plans on asking people whether or not they will allow Facebook to collect the data of users for advertising purposes.

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Facebook fired back, saying in the next few weeks and months it will start showing a pop-up screen that would encourage users to stay opted in, the Guardian reports, quoting a spokeswoman from Facebook as saying, “Agreeing to these prompts doesn’t result in Facebook collecting new types of data; it just means that Facebook can continue to give people better experiences.”

Anonymous sources told the WSJ that Mr Zuckerberg told certain team members and internal aides that Facebook needs to “inflict pain” on Apple, as he has come to consider Apple’s growing threat to Facebook.

In what may have been a response, Mr Cook said in a speech during the Computers, Privacy, and Data Protection conference last month that the business model of Facebook of maximizing engagement leads to division and violence.

He also seemed to hold Facebook partly to blame for the insurrection in Washington DC on Jan 6, particularly the social media company’s algorithms, which he said spreads conspiracy theories.

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Read also: Gloomy 2021 forecast for South-east Asia by retired diplomat Bilahari Kausikan

Gloomy 2021 forecast for South-east Asia by retired diplomat Bilahari Kausikan

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