Tim Cook and the “Data-Industrial Complex”

Tim Apple vs Mark Facebook
January 29, 2021

This week we released our second-annual omnibus research report, entitled Vision 2021: Ten Trends that Will Shape the Future of Commerce. It’s 70 pages, encompasses 10 very diverse topics, and is the result of 3 months of intense research and study. It’s worth your time. Download the report here.

One of the themes in Vision 2021 is The Death and Rebirth of Neutrality. That theme is backed by the thesis that posits we not only live in a post-truth society, we live in a post-neutrality society. The people demand we take sides: in politics, especially.

A new culture war is brewing. No, not GME and WallStreetBets. We’re talking about Tim vs Zuck. Apple announced this week that it would accelerate its plans to stop apps from tracking data across the web by default. The change will go into effect this spring, earlier than planned, and will directly affect Facebook’s bottom line, preventing Zuck and crew from collecting data, and profiting from, Apple’s user base. 

Facebook decries this as an abuse of market power, which is rich. Facebook took out a full-page ad in the NYT and the Washington Post in December, accusing Apple of “devastating small businesses.” Tim Cook fires back that Facebook is the cause of the loss of “the freedom to be human,” citing the disinformation spread on the social media giant’s platform. They’re asking us to take sides, and take up arms, in their feud. 

Tit for tat, Apple and Facebook are taking their feud public, highlighting another theme of the Vision report: Digital Dysmorphia: The Selfie Industrial Complex. It’s no secret that Facebook’s main source of revenue is gathered by data-mining our attention, our behavior, and our conversations — no matter where, including its popular apps Instagram and Whatsapp.

Apple is a pioneer in this space, and arguably has one of the largest troves of high-fidelity consumer face maps in the world. While not stored on its servers, Apple iOS devices with FaceID are capable of mapping up to 30,000 points on the human face with infrared tech. And while the trillion-dollar company likes to bemoan other platforms for their mistreatment and mishandling of privacy, the ubiquity of FaceID could be said to have relaxed consumer concerns about face recognition tech in general.

The battle will rage on. Is there middle ground for consumer neutrality here? Let us know what you think. And go download our newest report. We think it’s worth your time.


To bring light to the cumulative effect of racism from consistent, daily microaggressions, Assembly & Clemenger BBDO Wellington of NZ have produced the Voice of Racism. This discomforting audio-visual experience made up of true personal stories and spoken by one voice is meant to immerse the listener in the ugliness of how seemingly small comments and actions over time can add up to something much more burdensome and damaging. It creates intimate space to sit in that disquieting feeling and unpack why such things can be harmful. Headphones and time to pause recommended.

Bernie’s merch game is no joke. He and his hand-made mittens are donating $1.8M to Vermont charities with money made based on memes of him sitting alone in his chair trying to keep warm at the inauguration.

Target has pulled Chaokoh coconut milk from its shelves after the brand was accused of using monkey labor. The dad joke within wants to remark on how bananas this is. That being said, animal mistreatment is no laughing matter, and several other retailers, including Costco, have also dropped Chaokoh in recent months.

By the power of preparation and peanut oil! Chick-fil-A’s 5-lane speed comes to the rescue of a South Carolina Mayor. A drive-thru Covid-19 vaccination site was left dealing with gridlocked traffic after a software glitch, and vaccines were taking up to an hour to administer. The mayor called in the sandwich-slinging pros, and lines started moving at nugget speed.

Freaky-deakies need love, too. Kraft is serving up pink candy-flavored mac & cheese this Valentine’s Day, and Tyson is encouraging lovers to share pics of bouquets made with their heart-shaped chicken nuggets

The New DIY: We know the Bernie thing’s been done to death, but you can’t help but celebrate an Etsy creator who sold hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of patterns of the figure, and auctioned the original piece on Ebay for tens of thousands with proceeds going to charity. Incredible.

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