Apple reportedly hired a major Facebook critic and former employee for its privacy team

  • Apple hired former Facebook employee and critic Sandy Parakilas to its privacy team, according to the Financial Times.
  • Apple has been ramping up its strategy of touting its data protection policies for users.
  • Parakilas testified in front of U.K. lawmakers in March about Facebook's practices of data sharing with developers.
Apple CEO Tim Cook (l) and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook.
Getty Images (L) | Reuters (R)
Apple CEO Tim Cook (l) and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook.

Apple has recruited a former employee and vocal critic of Facebook to join its privacy team, according to the Financial Times.

Sandy Parakilas, who spent a year and a half monitoring privacy and policy compliance by software developers before leaving Facebook in October 2012, will reportedly become a privacy manager on Apple's policy team.

Apple has been placing a huge emphasis on its privacy features, especially compared with its peers including Facebook, Google and Amazon. This was on display in a big way at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, where Apple plastered a large ad on the side of a hotel overlooking the site of the conference.

Apple's ad appears on a hotel facing the Las Vegas Convention Center ahead of CES 2019.
Todd Haselton | CNBC
Apple's ad appears on a hotel facing the Las Vegas Convention Center ahead of CES 2019.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has taken a stand himself on Facebook's privacy policies. In a March interview with Recode's Kara Swisher and MSNBC's Chris Hayes, Cook responded to a question about what he would do if he were in Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's shoes following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

"I wouldn't be in this situation," he said.

Parakilas has also spoken publicly about Facebook's privacy practices, making him an interesting fit for the security-focused Apple. He even appeared in front of the U.K.'s House of Commons in March to present evidence about Facebook's practices in front of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

According to a transcript of the hearing, Parakilas testified, "I was one of the people raising concerns" at Facebook during his time there as a platform operations manager in 2011 and 2012.

"There was a lot of press at the time suggesting that this was potentially violating people's privacy and that there were some real concerns here," Parakilas said, referring to the way Facebook's users' data was gathered by developers at the time. "It was a known issue. What has changed is that people now realize how many things you can do with large amounts of data and so now they are connecting those two dots and we have the current scandal."

Apple and Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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