Mark Zuckerberg Reportedly Told Employees ‘We Need To Inflict Pain’ On Tim Cook And Apple

by : Emily Brown on : 13 Feb 2021 18:35
Mark Zuckerberg Reportedly Told Employees 'We Need To Inflict Pain' On Tim Cook And ApplePA Images

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg reportedly told his employees that they needed to ‘inflict pain’ on Tim Cook and his company, Apple. 

The brutal comment was allegedly made in 2018, when Facebook was surrounded in controversy regarding its data-collection practices.


In the wake of the contention, Cook took shots at the social media company in an interview on national television, claiming Apple would never have found itself in such a sticky situation.

Mark ZuckerbergPA Images

Zuckerberg made clear that he was not impressed with Cook’s interview, and responded to say the Apple CEO had been ‘extremely glib’ and that his comments were ‘not at all aligned with the truth’.

The anger apparently did not stop there, as Zuckerberg reportedly met with his team and said, ‘We need to inflict pain.’


The news comes from people familiar with the exchange who spoke to The Wall Street Journal about the situation, explaining that Zuckerberg made the comments because he believed Apple had treated his company poorly.

Mark Zuckerberg Got $27.3 Billion Richer In 2019PA Images

Tensions between Apple and Facebook were made public in 2014 when Cook criticised Facebook’s business model, and over the years the strain between the two CEOs appears to have heightened.

Things came to a head last month after Zuckerberg accused Apple of deceiving users in Facebook’s quarterly earnings call.


Zuckerberg claimed that Apple made ‘misleading’ privacy promises to consumers while offering iMessage, which has less privacy than Facebook’s WhatsApp as a messaging service.

In an apparent response to the claims, Cook launched an attack against business models that prioritise engagement and gather user data to target consumers with advertising.

Tim CookPA Images

Cook did not mention Facebook directly, but his comments appeared to make clear that he was talking about Zuckerberg’s company.


In a speech to the European Computers, Privacy and Data Protection Conference, cited by Insider, Cook said:

Technology does not need vast troves of personal data, stitched together across dozens of websites and apps, in order to succeed.

Advertising existed and thrived for decades without it. And we’re here today because the path of least resistance is rarely the path of wisdom.

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.

Facebook is thought to view Apple as overreaching in a way that threatens it, The Wall Street Journal reports. A face-to-face meeting in 2017 aimed to give the two CEOs chance to address tensions, but ultimately resulted in a strained standoff. The comments and quips made since indicate that the meeting did little to resolve the issue.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Technology, Apple, Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, Now, Tim Cook


Wall Street Journal and 1 other
  1. Wall Street Journal

    Facebook Meets Apple in Clash of the Tech Titans—‘We Need to Inflict Pain’

  2. Insider

    Tim Cook took a swipe at Facebook after Mark Zuckerberg accused Apple of misleading users