The Upgrade

Apple vs. Facebook Enters a New Era

With two pivots on the horizon, here’s what you should know

Lance Ulanoff
Published in
6 min readApr 18, 2019
Image: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty

PPeople are expected to draw a line between public and private life — it’s why you (probably) don’t go to the office in your slippers and underwear. There’s a fundamental expectation that the companies we interact with every day can manage that divide as well.

Some tech companies understand this dichotomy better than others. Facebook hasn’t traditionally cared much for it, for example, while Apple has bent over backwards to market privacy features. But the tide may be shifting, depending on how you interpret some recent product announcements. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently committed himself to “building a privacy-focused” platform, while Apple announced a slate of new services that a different, less scrupulous company might use to harvest user data.

At this pivotal moment, it’s worth examining how the two approaches differ and what users might realistically expect as we enter a new era for these technology giants.

For starters, take Apple’s new services. In all these products—from original TV shows to magazines, games, and banking—understanding performance, user metrics, and activities is crucial to success. Magazines in News+ will rely on ad sales to make money. Advertisers may demand detailed metrics not just on overall impressions but also on which magazines and ads users looked at next. And then there’s Apple Card, the company’s waltz into the world of banking, backed by Goldman Sachs and Mastercard — you can imagine the potential issues there.

Apple has done its best to make its position on your data across all these services abundantly clear: It has no interest, and your privacy still comes first.

None of these services rely on advertising to drive revenue for Apple.

It may be easy for Apple to maintain that commitment since none of these services rely on advertising to drive revenue for Apple. Though much was said about Apple’s revenue split with publishers on its News+ subscription service, it reportedly allows those publishers to keep 100% of the ad revenue they generate. For the most part, Apple will collect…



Lance Ulanoff

Tech expert, journalist, social media commentator, amateur cartoonist and robotics fan.