Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defends business model after Cook's comments

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The CEO's of Apple and Facebook are on a collision course over privacy and the Cambridge Analytica data scandal that has put Facebook in the crosshairs. (KGO-TV)

The CEO's of Apple and Facebook are on a collision course over privacy and the Cambridge Analytica data scandal that has put Facebook in the crosshairs. The fundamental disagreement appears to creating a competition over which company, Apple or Facebook, is more trustworthy.

Even in the highly competitive environment of Silicon Valley, it's rare to see two highly visible CEO's disagreeing in public, but the controversy embroiling Facebook has brought to the surface a slow simmering issue about trust.

"Now all of a sudden that trust is coming into question," says Bob O'Donnell, president and chief analyst at the technology research firm, Technalysis. "When that trust comes into question, you see a lot of companies volleying for position to say, wait a minute, we're still a trustworthy company. You can still trust us."

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Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off the exchange last week in a taped interview on MSNBC that will air this Friday. He was asked how he would handle the Facebook problem in which the private information about 50 million users was compromised.

"I wouldn't be in this situation," said Cook. The reason, he explained, is because Apple sells products while, he says, Facebook is advertiser supported.

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

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday shot back in a podcast, the Ezra Klein Show, on the Vox news site.

"You know, I find that argument, that if you're not paying that somehow we can't care about you, to be extremely glib and not at all aligned with the truth," said Zuckerberg.

Facebook is under pressure from Congress to explain its privacy practices. But the sparks are flying here in Silicon Valley.

Analyst Bob O'Donnell thinks the debate is only getting started. "I think we will see this go on for a while," he said, "and I think we could even see other companies get involved because fundamentally what's at stake here is trust. We've got these huge Silicon Valley companies that are becoming incredibly powerful, incredibly important, and frankly have been some of the most trusted companies for a long time."

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