Apple CEO Tim Cook may well be delighted by the reaction to his company’s shiny new iPhone, but the tech leader is less than impressed with platform-owning social media and advertising companies. Most of which are now facing tough questions from officials and users as they become more embroiled in the ongoing controversy surrounding Russian interference in the 2016 US election.
Most notoriously, Facebook is accused of not properly vetting who can advertise on its platform and thus allowing Russia-linked companies to purchase ads designed to sway the election in Donald Trump’s favor. However, Cook believes this issue is the least of our worries.
“I don’t believe the big issue are ads from foreign governments. I believe that’s like .1 percent of the issue,” Cook said in a recent interview with NBC Nightly News. “The bigger issue is that some of these tools are used to divide people, to manipulate people, to get fake news to people in broad numbers so as to influence their thinking. This to me is the No. 1 through 10 issue.”
The news that Russia-linked advertising was featured in Google search and YouTube ads, as well on both Facebook and Twitter, has been widely reported, but we now know that these ads reached many more users than previously thought.
The House Intelligence Committee also provided a sample of the Facebook ads and pages that were “linked by a trail of ruble payments” to a Russian company with Kremlin ties. See a sample of them below then head over to the NY Times to see in full.