Steve Wozniak, who co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs, says he is abandoning Facebook because of its exploitation of people’s data.
Facebook (FB) is having an incredibly turbulent time, thanks to a variety of scandals ranging from Russian disinformation campaigns to the service’s addictiveness—and, of course, its privacy practices, drawn into the spotlight by the Cambridge Analytica scandal. This latter issue has led a lot of people to re-evaluate their relationship with the social network.
“Users provide every detail of their life to Facebook and… Facebook makes a lot of advertising money off this. The profits are all based on the user’s info, but the users get none of the profits back,” Woz, as he is known in the tech world, told USA Today.
Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg last week said that, if Facebook users don’t want to have the company exploit their personal data in order to better target advertising, they would need to pay to use the service instead.
Woz, for one, would be willing to pay up, he said. “Apple makes its money off of good products, not off of you. As they say, with Facebook, you are the product,” he said.
Apple chief Tim Cook has taken a similar line, criticizing Facebook for choosing to make its customers its products, while Apple (AAPL) chooses to make its cash by selling people things.
There’s a great deal of debate over the Facebook monetization issue. The social network, which does not currently have a paid tier, could of course introduce one—but that would mean that poorer users would be more likely to continue having their data exploited, while richer users would get to enjoy more privacy.
“At Facebook, we are squarely in the camp of the companies that work hard to charge you less and provide a free service that everyone can use,” Facebook CEO Zuckerberg said in response to Cook’s criticism, which he characterized as “extremely glib.”
While Wozniak is no longer a key player in Silicon Valley—he’s now chief scientist at an enterprise data management startup called Primary Data—he is venerated for his former role at Apple and has become something of an everyman oracle in the scene. Earlier this year, he said he no longer believes anything that Elon Musk or Tesla (TSLA) says, due to their history of hype, but he does “still love the car.”