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Zuckerberg reportedly told Facebook execs to use Android, not Apple, phones

The move allegedly happened after Apple CEO Tim Cook criticized the social media company.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
James Martin

It looks like Mark Zuckerberg can hold a grudge.

The Facebook CEO reportedly ordered his management team to start using only Android phones after Apple CEO Tim Cook made public comments about the social media company's Cambridge Analytica data scandal, according to a report Wednesday in The New York Times.

"We're not going to traffic in your personal life," Cook said, referencing the scandal in an MSNBC interview in March. "Privacy to us is a human right. It's a civil liberty." 

After these remarks, the Times reported, Zuckerberg told Facebook executives to use only Android phones because that operating system has higher usage worldwide than Apple's iPhone OS. It isn't clear if Zuckerberg's management team did switch to Android phones.

In a blog post Thursday that rebutted points raised in the Times story, Facebook said "we've long encouraged our employees and executives to use Android because it is the most popular operating system in the world."

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The Android matter was one of many covered in the Times story, an in-depth look at what the newspaper described as stumbles by Facebook's leadership, including its response to Russian election interference and its handling of fake news on the social network.

Facebook came under scrutiny for its privacy practices after The Guardian and The New York Times published accounts of how Cambridge Analytica, a digital consultancy firm hired by the Trump presidential campaign, improperly mined personal details from 87 million Facebook users without their permission.

Apple, on the other hand, has continually said it's a big proponent of user privacy. Cook has even warned, in multiple interviews, about the dangers of social media and other free online services. In the MSNBC interview, Cook said his company purposely chose privacy over profit by refusing to sell customer data.

"The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer -- if our customer was our product," Cook said. "We've elected not to do that."

Originally published Nov. 14 at 3:35 p.m. PT.
Updated Nov. 15 at 5:49 a.m PT: Added information from Facebook's blog post.

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