Why Mark Zuckerberg Calls Apple’s App Store Controls a ‘Conflict of Interest’

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Apple’s App Store presents a conflict of interest, adding his voice to criticism of the iPhone maker’s software policies. “It’s a problem for the company to be able to control what apps end up on the device,” Zuckerberg said Wednesday in an interview at the New York Times DealBook conference. “Most of the profits from the mobile ecosystem go to Apple,” he added.

The App Store policies and fees used by Apple, and to a lesser extent Google’s Parent Letters, have long been controversial for tech companies looking to reach a wider mobile audience. Billionaire Elon Musk added to the chorus after his acquisition of Twitter, sending a series of tweets this week criticizing Apple’s costs and restrictions on what apps can be sold.

Zuckerberg echoed some of Musk’s points. He called Apple’s content moderation rules for apps a “conflict of interest” as they often target competitors. It makes Apple “not just a government looking out for people’s interests.” Revenue at Meta, which owns social networks Facebook and Instagram, has been hit as Apple has tightened its privacy policies to limit how users can be tracked and targeted with advertising.

While Zuckerberg appeared to back his opposition to Apple’s policies, Musk on Wednesday dismissed his criticism of the iPhone maker, saying he met with CEO Tim Cook at the company’s headquarters and had a “good conversation” that resolved a “misunderstanding” about Twitter’s place in the App Store. .

As for Musk’s approach to running Twitter, Zuckerberg deflected his comments – saying he predicts that some methods will work and others won’t. “I think it will be very interesting to see how this plays out,” he said.

As for whether Meta will allow the former US President Donald Trump to return to Facebook, Zuckerberg did not answer, but he pointed to the previous guide that the company received from its External Review Board, which scrutinizes difficult content decisions. Meta is expected to make a decision in January.

Wall Street is growing increasingly wary of Meta’s investment in its money-losing virtual reality business amid declining ad revenue. Earlier this month, Zuckerberg said the company would cut more than 11,000 jobs, and took personal responsibility for the decisions that led to the need to cut costs. In April, Meta reported its first quarterly revenue decline.

Wednesday’s interview began with a taped conversation between Zuckerberg and the president as avatars in an embedded digital world the company calls the metaverse. Still, Zuckerberg said the idea that Meta is completely focused on the metaverse is “absolutely wrong.” The messaging app WhatsApp will be his next big monetization target, he said, since that platform is “underutilized.”

He cited progress in Reels, the company’s short-form video feature, and said some estimates show it has half the volume of video-sharing app TikTok outside of China.

Zuckerberg also raised the issue of TikTok’s ownership by Beijing-based ByteDance, adding that there are “real questions” about the Chinese government’s influence over TikTok. “In most countries, all information goes to the government,” said the CEO.

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