Facebook's pettiness, per to the report, went as far as Zuckerberg ordering members of his management team to start using Android smartphones instead of iPhones, after Apple CEO Tim Cook took a jab at Facebook for not protecting its users' data. "I think the best regulation is no regulation [but] self-regulation," Cook told MSNBC in an interview last March in response to a question about Facebook's Cambridge Analytica incident. "However, I think we're beyond that here." He added, "I wouldn't be in this situation." Sure, Zuckerberg may believe he has the power to make his staff stop using iPhones at his demand, but it seems like his energy could've been better spent elsewhere -- like actually trying to fix the issues at hand.
Not surprisingly, Facebook is denying many of the allegations from The New York Times' report. In a blog post, the company said "there are a number of inaccuracies in the story," including that it knew of Russian activity in the spring of 2016 -- though the timeline it provides seems kind of murky. Facebook also claims Zuckerberg "never encouraged our employees and executives" to use Android. "Tim Cook has consistently criticized our business model and Mark has been equally clear he disagrees," the company said. "So there's been no need to employ anyone else to do this for us. And we've long encouraged our employees and executives to use Android because it is the most popular operating system in the world."
As far as Definers, in a call with reporters on Thursday, Zuckerberg said he only "learned about this relationship when I read the NYT piece yesterday." That's worrisome considering what Facebook said in a statement: "Our relationship with Definers was well known by the media -- not least because they have on several occasions sent out invitations to hundreds of journalists about important press calls on our behalf."
Facebook says it has ended its contract with Definers, adding that The Times "is wrong to suggest that we ever asked Definers to pay for or write articles on Facebook's behalf -- or to spread misinformation." Thing is, it's not as if The New York Times has a track record of reporting inaccurate stories, whereas Facebook's recent mishaps have all but exposed its lack of transparency when something goes wrong. And that's been happening quite often lately.
At this point, it's going to take a lot for Facebook to gain people's trust back, especially as more stories like this continue to come out. What the company needs to do is brace itself for regulation, because it clearly can't be trusted to regulate itself, and lawmakers around the world are starting to agree.