Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has criticized Apple’s iMessage as less secure and private compared to WhatsApp in a new ad campaign. Zuckerberg made the critical comments in a post that was shared on his public Facebook and Instagram pages. The comments are also accompanied by an advertising image directly comparing iMessage’s green and blue bubble approach to the “Private” bubble on WhatsApp.
In a post, Zuckerberg wrote, “WhatsApp is much more private and secure than iMessage, with end-to-end encryption that works on both iPhone and Android, including group chats.” He also pointed out that WhatsApp supports the ability to let all new chats disappear and also comes with “end-to-end encrypted backups”. This last element is important and Zuckerberg knows it too. This is because Apple’s iMessage does not have end-to-end encryption for iCloud backups.
Zuckerberg ends his status by saying, “Everything iMessage still doesn’t have,” in a scathing review of Apple’s popular iMessage service. As The Verge notes, Meta is launching a full-frontal assault on iMessage in the US. Apple’s messaging platform is very popular in the United States, as noted by several reports, especially among teenagers and students. It looks like Meta wants to change the narrative in favor of WhatsApp.
According to The Verge, a spokesperson for Meta said that same privacy-focused ad “will appear on television, digital video, outdoor and social media across the United States.” It appears to be part of a larger campaign to increase WhatsApp’s user base in the United States.
For context, there are plenty of reasons for Meta to criticize Apple. Since Apple introduced its “App Tracking Transparency” feature in April 2021, advertising for social media companies such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. was negatively affected. This feature ensures that social media companies cannot track a user’s data on other apps or websites. A report estimated that the feature will cost Facebook nearly $22 billion in 2022 alone. The feature was introduced with iOS 14.5.
Apple itself has also openly criticized social media networks such as Facebook itself. In January last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly said: “At a time of rampant misinformation and algorithm-fueled conspiracy theories, we can no longer turn a blind eye to a theory of technology. which says that every engagement is a good engagement – the longer the better – and all with the aim of collecting as much data as possible. It was seen as a swipe at Facebook – although Cook did not name any company as such.
And Apple has always presented its products as being more private, more secure, compared to those of its competitors. Of course, Zuckerberg’s criticism of Apple on privacy is interesting. But he’s right that WhatsApp also offers end-to-end encryption for backups, which means no third parties can access them either. And that’s something iMessage doesn’t offer yet. Keep in mind that all iMessage and FaceTime calls are end-to-end encrypted, which means no third party, including Apple, can access or intercept them.