Apple CEO Tim Cook: Russian Facebook ads didn’t elect President Trump

“As Washington lawmakers investigate how Russia exploited social media to influence the 2016 presidential election, Apple CEO Tim Cook says the tech giants have something much greater to be concerned about,” Erik Ortiz reports for NBC News. “‘I don’t believe that the big issue are ads from foreign government. I believe that’s like .1 percent of the issue,’ Cook told NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt in an exclusive interview that aired Wednesday night.”

“‘The bigger issue is that some of these tools are used to divide people, to manipulate people, to get fake news to people in broad numbers, and so, to influence their thinking,’ Cook said. ‘And this, to me, is the No. 1 through 10 issue,'” Ortiz reports. “In an interview from Apple’s sprawling new Cupertino, California, headquarters, Cook also spoke about customers’ privacy in the age of the internet as well as the release Friday of the iPhone X, the latest incarnation of the company’s flagship product.”

U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump
“Apple’s Silicon Valley peers remained in the spotlight Wednesday as members of the House Intelligence Committee grilled representatives from Facebook, Twitter and Google for their inability to prevent Russia from exposing millions of Americans to ads meant to undermine last year’s election,” Ortiz reports. “The tech giants told lawmakers that steps were installed to prevent such meddling again, including the shutting down of suspect accounts. Cook, in his interview with Holt, said the social media companies have ‘learned along the way a lot’ since the election. ‘We’ll probably learn more in those hearings as to the particulars. But I do think that technology itself doesn’t want to be good. It doesn’t want to be anything,’ Cook said. ‘It’s up to the creator of the technology and the user of the technology to make it good.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: By SteveJack

If political ads determine your vote, you shouldn’t be voting.

Take it from someone who has, prior to this gig, produced and edited hundreds of political ads for TV.

SEE ALSO:
Apple CEO Cook: ‘Fake news’ is ‘killing people’s minds’ – February 11, 2017

62 Comments

        1. How so? Agree in spirit when legal filings land on a CEO’s desk things happen and the tune often changes.

          “Foreign influence,” domestic influence, family influence, party influence, co-worker influence, significant other influence, sibling influence, offspring influence, relatives influence are all the SAME. Only topics, faces, names and places change.

          Obvious we all deal with INFLUENCE EVERYDAY. The ads on MDN, the ads on every website you visit, the ads on every television show you watch, the billboards on every highway you drive, the ads in every newspaper and magazine you read, the ads on talk radio you listen to, the ads in your junk mail you throw away, the ads in every store you shop, and on and on.

          Bottom line: We filter influence everyday and make our own personal choices. Russian influence is the BIGGEST NOTHING BURGER in political history …

    1. Ads should be like food. Label them properly and we would know if they are fit for human consumption. The feds should get their heads out of their asses and regulate social media as strictly as any other media. Author, publisher, date, company name (funder) all publicly available.

    1. President Trump has exceed all of my expectations, here on out everything else is just icing on the cake, the movement he jump started, is larger than just one man now that’s it’s has begun, but we have to keep fighting. Freedom has to be fought for daily, until it becomes second nature. There is much evil in the world.

            1. President Trump is stupid, eh? Yeh, keep trying convince yourself of that. He keeps the Democrats off balance and plays the media like a fiddle while the economy soars …

            2. Trump himself isn’t balanced. He flip flops every issue, lies like a sailor, and spends like a drunken buffoon. When are you going to wake up?

            3. Trump himself isn’t balanced. He flip flops every issue, lies like a sailor, and spends like a drunken buffoon. When are you going to wake up?

              Trump is the most balanced and hard working day to day president the world has ever seen.

              I don’t read flip flops on EVERY issue. Spare us the stupid absolute statements.

              President Trump may embellish or not be in full control of the total facts at times, granted. But he in no way starts his day INTENDING to lie. You are talking about the Clintons.

              You mean spending like a drunken sailor on THREE Hurricane disasters? You are a joke. Get off my lawn! …

    2. The aptly named deplorables have been tuned into a steady drip of extreme right haterade since foreigner Murdoch and talking head propaganists found it profitable to act as the entertainment division of unelected special interests. Gingrich style politics requires that Americans be distracted and divided while the oligarchs take over congress.

      The funny thing is that Trump thinks he was competent enough to win the election on his own. He doesn’t realize he’s being used as a distraction while congress deconstructs the democratic checks and balances. Trump’s cabinet was hand picked by the Koch brothers et al to destroy any impediment to their profiteering.

  1. Political ad makers are the true mercineries of the advertising world. They take no sides and take no prisoners. Consequently, they are often the best to see through the cliché polemics espoused in most political ads.

  2. If ads don’t influence opinion why are they splashed across the internet, television and the physical world to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars? Trillions, even?

    1. Some people are smart enough to see through the biased advertising and political propoganda, then make a sound and objective decision on Election Day. See how it works?

    2. Hilliary spent a RECORD amount of money for a Presidential candidate in history.

      Second, Hilliary had the editorial endorsements of over 90% of BIG MEDIA in print and television and those combined factors did not help her over the finish line.

      We have recently witnessed a turning point in election spending influence.

      I don’t know if it is safe to say just yet, we won’t be fooled again. But clearly, the political ads had the least impact in history.

      Clinton campaign spent more than double of the Trump campaign. None of it mattered.

      Power to the PEOPLE, baby! ✊🇺🇸

      1. If Hillay’s hundreds of millions of dollars spent on her election campaign failed as miserably as it did to influence US citizens how did the alleged paltry hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by the Russians swing the election?

        Answer: none of it mattered.

  3. President Trump has exceed all of my expectations, here on out everything else is just icing on the cake, the movement he jump started, is larger than just one man now that’s it’s has begun, but we have to keep fighting. Freedom has to be fought for daily, until it becomes second nature. There is much evil in the world.

  4. 70k votes turned the election. >150M people were targeted so far. False and or misleading information can sway a lot of voters if their information source is social media, and not main stream news such as NYTimes, MSNBC, or other sources where debate between parties or guests can provide a more fair and balanced assessment of a particular story or article, then bots running and spreading real fake news can alter the election.

    1. Why in my opinion, is the real issue. That people are so easily manipulated, that they are so willing to believe clearly false stories.

      Back when I actually was using Facebook I would reply to clearly false posts, after looking up the truth, and rebut them. Some, a very few, would actually check what I posted and realize they were duped. Most did not. That was one off the reasons I stopped using Facebook.

      1. Bullshit. Just because Ping failed doesn’t mean Apple isn’t a player. Apple bakes in Google search, Twitter, and Facetime, etc into all of its consumer software. Apple is a willing enabler and supporter of the underregulated social media scourge.

        1. “Apple bakes in Google search, Twitter, and Facetime, etc into all of its consumer software.”

          Providing easy access to software is just that. No guns pointed at heads to use it for any DEFINED purpose.

          And no, Apple does not participate in social media as we know it. Get a grip …

  5. First our election was not hacked. There has been to date no evidence shown in public that any entity compromised the voting machines or computers used to tabulate and report the vote.

    Second, if the Russians ran a disinformation campaign against Hillary Clinton, so what. Any voter had more than a few chances to see the candidates of both major parties on TV at length and online on demand. Besides, I kind of like the Stan wind if Hillary is elected meme…

    Third, the US has been meddling in the elections of other countries to the extent of sponsoring coups of democratically elected leaders. Chile and Iran are but two examples.

    Fourth, anyone stupid enough to swallow the shit that circulates on Facebook and Twitter without doing some fact checking does not deserve to vote. Citizens have a responsibility to inform themselves and to participate based upon knowledge- not gossip or innuendo.

    I did not vote for Trump, but watching the media meltdown was sweet.

  6. “Fourth, anyone stupid enough to swallow the shit that circulates on Facebook and Twitter without doing some fact checking does not deserve to vote. Citizens have a responsibility to inform themselves and to participate based upon knowledge- not gossip or innuendo.”

    While you’re right here, the problem is some will view this stuff as real and vote for someone for the wrong reason.

    The problem is that that misinformed person is affecting your future by placing that vote.

    1. There have been ill informed people voting throughout our history and politicians have been playing on their ignorance as well.

      It amazes me that most of the people I meet who claim America is the greatest country on earth do not have a Passport. Otherwise, they have no first hand basis for that belief.

      Then look at the numbers of people who actually follow the news closely- it is rather small. The numbers of people who fact check what they read and see or hear is even smaller. Less than 600,000 dead tree and about 2.5 million online subscribers read the NY Times. The WaPo has just over a Million Digital Subs and less than half a million dead tree readers. NPR averages about 14.5 million listeners to it’s news programs. Here are the numbers for the evening news broadcasts:
      ABC World News 8,462,000 NBC Nightly News 8,139,000 CBS Evening News 6,222,000

      Fox News Channel averages about 1.4 million full day and about 2.2 million for it’s Prime Time opinion shows.

      Current US Population estimate from the Census: 326 Million.

  7. I watched the interview earlier , I don’t think Cook ever said either way whether or not the Russian ads elected Trump (he didn’t talk Trump much at all) , he just said that the BIGGER problem than just Russian ads (which was 0.1% of the GENERAL problem facing us) was how fake news etc on social media (on all issues not just Trump) divided people.

    not pro or anti Trump here, just wanted to correct the view of the thrust of the conversation.

    1. down voters did you watch the interview?
      the 0.1 % thing was Cook’s own words, not my opinion

      i think the down voters are typical blotto heads, you have a’belief’ (right, left, whatever) but don’t see really the facts which was what i said: unlike the click bait headline Cook was not much on Trump at all.

      1. You actually pay attention to FAKE votes, seriously? 🤔

        Write like you don’t care who is voting. Best I can do parallel construction to the old saw, “dance like nodody’s watching” …

  8. SteveJack, your Take sounds great. In an ideal world, that would be true and political ads and robocalls would have no reason to exist. But we do not live in that world.

    The fact is that people tend to love and internalize information (real or fake) that reinforces their existing beliefs and viewpoints. If you use social media to increase the repetition of those targeted/partisan messages and also introduce misleading/falsified information to further strengthen the polarization of the voting population, then you *can* influence elections. In fact, I would say that the last election is a perfect demonstration of that approach. It may or may not have changed the results this time. But it certainly has the potential to do so.

    In the end, the informed voters are somewhat at the mercy of the under-informed/misinformed voters, partisan loyalists, and single-issue voters. This has the effect of promoting the value of nasty attack campaigns, misinformation campaigns, and worthless debates devoid of useful content from candidates who avoid answering questions or addressing the real issues.

    Around 38% of voters still support Trump, which is amazing given his behavior, actions, and lack of a defined strategy beyond gaining approval and applause for “winning.” Almost anyone would be better as POTUS than Trump, imo. The fact that we had to choose between Hillary and Trump in the last election demonstrates the growing dysfunction of our political system. We are on a course towards extreme polarization, expanded levels of violence, and an eventual potential breakdown of government, law, and order resulting in anarchy and chaos.

    We deserve better representatives. We should not have to choose between the lesser of evils, especially when selecting a POTUS.

      1. but I do not share your confidence. I personally believe that the targeted destruction of government institutions and the role of science in decision-making is a travesty.

        And the lies…the obvious, stupid lies! If anyone believes that the tax cuts will truly target the middle class and the working poor, then they are sadly mistaken. Disregarding everything else, the elimination of the estate tax will benefit the wealthy in uncounted billions while our deficits and accumulated national debt continue to soar.

        Republicans used to abhor deficit spending. Now the party panders to the people by providing tax cuts that will magically pay for themselves through growth. I thought that the failed trickle-down economics experiment died by the early 1990s. But it has been reborn in an even more excessive and ugly form.

        History is a lesson in growth and decline. The U.S. is sliding down into a trough right now. Can we recover?

      2. Champion of the multimillionaire and billionaire class only. His repeated lies about helping the working classes are obvious. Trillions in tax breaks proposed for corporations and executives who are mostly paid in stocks. Zero reduction in payroll taxes. Nothing to reduce complexity for small businesses.

        Trump could not propose a more lucrative tax gift for himself if he tried.

    1. “Around 38% of voters still support Trump.”

      Would that be 38% of all likely voters, registered voters, Republican or Democrat voters, or, people on the street?

      No matter, you believe that number given the remarkable economic news the past few months, fine. Like believing the New York Times, CNN, et al. just before the election when Clinton was poll projected to win in a landslide. We know how that turned out …

    1. FOR SALE: CHEAP
      Pristine assortment of Glass Ceiling fireworks, will trade for liquor.
      Contact: Felonia von Pantsuit, 666 Falling Down Parkway, Chappaqua NY

      (serious inquiries only)

    2. I wonder who among the brightest minds in the Democrat Party will throw their hat into the ring for POTUS. C’mon libtards, give us the names, who are your heroes, your saviors? Reveal to the world the future of America.

      1. Just as I thought. There is no one anyone in Democrat Party considered a legitimate candidate. The Democrat Party is a collection of loud mouthed losers. Sit down, losers, the adults are in charge.

    1. You certainly got that right.

      And no one is better on the Democrat Dark Side than the Clinton crime family. Crooked lawyers that are specialists in lying, cover up, dirty deals with foreign governments, pay to play, destroying evidence (30,000 e-mails, smashing Blackberries and acid wash), ruining reputations all the while smugly smiling for the sycophantic media and adoring dim bulb celebrities.

      And they do it so well without a conscious, they never missed a minute of sleep …

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