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Apple's Tim Cook says Facebook failed to regulate itself

Apple won't monetize customers' data even if it would make "a ton of money," CEO Cook says, while rejecting criticism that iPhones are built in China.


Apple CEO Tim Cook criticized Facebook's treatment of users' privacy in an interview set to air next week. 

James Martin/CNET

In a jab at Facebook, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the gadget giant purposely chose not to make "a ton of money" off its customers' data and that Facebook failed to effectively regulate itself, prompting a need for government intervention. 

"I think the best regulation is no regulation, is self-regulation," Cook said. "However, I think we're beyond that here."

Cook spoke to MSNBC's Chris Hayes and Recode's Kara Swisher in a collaborative interview set to air next week. Several snippets of the interview were disclosed Wednesday by Recode. 

Facebook has faced a spiraling scandal for more than a week since The Guardian and The New York Times published accounts of how Cambridge Analytica, a digital consultancy hired by the Trump presidential campaign, improperly mined personal details from millions of Facebook users without their permission.  

Apple makes the vast majority of its revenue by selling its devices to consumers.

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

In other comments, Cook rejected the notion that Apple builds its devices overseas. 

"We are building things in the United States. ... It's not true that iPhone isn't built in the United States," Cook said in the interview, scheduled to air on MSNBC on Friday, April 6 at 5 p.m. PT.

People fixate on the final assembly in China, but he noted the device's components, design and assembly come from various places.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a message seeking additional comment.