Apple warns of 'social dilemma becoming social catastrophe', releases A Day in the Life of your Data report

Apple boss Tim Cook has sharply criticised the polarisation and misinformation of social media, intensifying a conflict between the iPhone maker and Facebook.

He's also directly linking social media business practices with real-world violence and anti-science movements.

In remarks delivered at the Computers, Privacy and Data Protection conference in Brussels, Cook critiqued apps he argued collect too much personal information and prioritise "conspiracy theories and violent incitement simply because of their high rates of engagement".

"At a moment of rampant disinformation and conspiracy theories juiced by algorithms, we can no longer turn a blind eye to a theory of technology that says all engagement is good engagement - the longer the better - and all with the goal of collecting as much data as possible," Cook said.

He did not name Facebook, but the two companies have been in a high-profile dispute. Apple is preparing to implement privacy notifications which many in the digital advertising industry believe will cause some users to decline to allow the use of ad-targeting tools.

January 28 marked Data Privacy Day and to mark it, Apple also published a report online entitled A Day in the Life of your Data.

An Apple representative told Newshub the report is a hypothetical account - with references and citations to plenty of real-world examples - indicating the amount of tracking that goes on in many people's applications.

The company wants the report to educate people about just how much personal information tech companies collect on them, as well as highlighting its privacy features.

Facebook has accused Apple of anticompetitive conduct because Apple has a growing catalogue of paid apps and its own digital advertising business. Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg this week said Apple has "every incentive to use their dominant platform position to interfere with how our apps and other apps work".

Speaking to Newshub, an Apple representative said it was absolutely incorrect that the company's privacy features are being implemented as an anticompetitive measure. They referred to what they called Apple's long history of prioritising privacy, saying it's always been done for the customer.

At the Brussels conference, Cook criticised social media practices that he said undermine public trust in vaccines and encourage users to join extremist groups.

"It is long past time to stop pretending that this approach doesn't come with a cost - of polarisation, of lost trust and, yes, of violence," Cook said.

"A social dilemma cannot be allowed to become a social catastrophe.

"I think the past year, and certainly recent events, have brought home the risk of this for all of us - as a society, and as individuals as much as anything else."

In response to Cook's remarks, Facebook said in a statement that it believes "Apple is behaving anti-competitively by using their control of the App Store to benefit their bottom line at the expense of app developers and small businesses".

Reuters / Newshub.