Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak has some advice for Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook: Stop putting money before morals


Steve WozniakApple cofounder Steve Wozniak.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

  • Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak has some advice for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. 
  • His comments came before the bombshell New York Times report that detailed Facebook’s efforts to combat criticism and negative coverage. 
  • Wozniak said Facebook should put people above technology, give users more options on how their data is used, and open itself up to competition. 

Steve Wozniak doesn’t mince his words when it comes to Facebook. 

During interviews with CNBC and at the CME Group’s Global Financial Leadership Conference in Naples, Florida, the Apple cofounder had some advice for Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. His comments came a few days before the bombshell New York Times report that detailed how Facebook has tried to combat criticism and negative coverage in the past. 

Wozniak said Facebook needs to “remember that people matter more than technology and stop putting money before morals,” according to NBC reporter Dylan Byers, who paraphrased his interview with Wozniak in a tweet.

In a separate interview with CNBC, Wozniak gave some specific recommendations and criticism for the social media giant, which has faced various crises in the last year.

“They won’t do one thing that will cost them a penny,” Wozniak said to CNBC. “I haven’t seen one step. I’ve seen Zuckerberg talk about ‘We’ll do this, we’ll make this open, we’ll give you more options” — I haven’t seen them do one real thing.” 

Mark ZuckerbergFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Wozniak added that Facebook should be more clear with its advertising policies.

“One thing they should do is, if you’re going to be on targeted advertising lists, give you the option to pay your way out of it,” Wozniak said. “Or at least tell you what lists you’re on — what categories they put you in out of thousands of categories and you can check or uncheck them. Or you can say ‘I don’t want to be on any targeted lists at all.’ And they should not keep that sort of data just from every sort of post.”

Wozniak had another, slightly more far-fetched idea that he admitted the company would likely never adopt. He said Facebook should open itself up to competition by allowing users to export their data — including timelines, friends, and posts — and move it to another competing social media site. 

“I get sick of all executives when I hear diverting around any real answers or issues, or even any real promises or real action that would help people,” Wozniak said. “I’m always for the end consumer — the little guy over the big, strong, wealthy company or person.”

Read more: Mark Zuckerberg made his executives use Android phones after Tim Cook slammed Facebook’s approach to privacy

Wozniak has spoken publicly about Facebook in the past, most recently when he announced in April that he planned to quit Facebook because he didn’t think the company respected user privacy or data. 

“Users provide every detail of their life to Facebook and … Facebook makes a lot of advertising money off this,” Wozniak wrote in an email to USA Today at the time. “The profits are all based on the user’s info, but the users get none of the profits back.

“Apple makes its money off of good products, not off of you. As they say, with Facebook, you are the product.”

Wozniak isn’t the only person related to Apple who has taken shots at Facebook while playing up Apple’s strengths in privacy. Apple CEO Tim Cook has been voicing a similar argument since 2014, and recently said in an interview he would never be in the situation Facebook and Zuckerberg are in now. 

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