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Zuckerberg says Apple’s approach to ads is ‘ridiculous’

Do you prefer free services that target you with advertising? Or expensive services that aren’t so interested in collecting marketing data on you?

Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg are on opposite sides of the fence when it comes to the issue, and Zuckerberg took the opportunity in an interview with Time to put across his own take on the matter.

Zuckerberg was responding to comments made in September by Apple boss Cook: “When an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product,” he wrote on the Apple website in response to concerns over iCloud security and online privacy. That flies in the face of the business built up by Facebook as well as Web services from the likes of Google and Yahoo.

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Zuckerberg isn’t having it, however. “A frustration I have is that a lot of people increasingly seem to equate an advertising business model with somehow being out of alignment with your customers,” he told Time in the interview, published earlier this week. “It’s the most ridiculous concept. What, you think because you’re paying Apple that you’re somehow in alignment with them? If you were in alignment with them, then they’d make their products a lot cheaper!”

The main focus of the Time feature was Facebook’s part in the Internet.org initiative designed to bring online connectivity to some of the most remote parts of the world — the ultimate aim is to improve education and healthcare through Internet access, though of course Facebook accrues more users as a long-term result of getting these people online.

“Our mission is to connect every person in the world,” explains Zuckerberg. “You don’t do that by having a service people pay for… There are no steps that are clear steps to make this an awesome business or to have it fully rolled out across the world, but I’m pretty confident we can do it. I’m pretty confident it’s going to be a good thing.”