Dec 5, 2014 · 2 minutes

“A frustration I have is that a lot of people increasingly seem to equate an advertising business model with somehow being out of alignment with your customers. I think it’s the most ridiculous concept. What, you think because you’re paying Apple that you’re somehow in alignment with them? If you were in alignment with them, then they’d make their products a lot cheaper!”

That's Mark Zuckerberg, arguing in a new TIME feature story, against Apple's claim that advertising-driven companies aren't as committed to consumers as companies that sell products. It's been making its way around the Web for a couple days, at least in part because it's the most combative Zuck's been in a while.

I'll give this much to Zuckerberg: it's a good sound byte. There's the hotshot chief executive, railing against the price of Apple's products, almost like he isn't a multi-billionaire who could purchase hundreds of iPhones without having to think twice about it. The only problem is that "alignment" doesn't have anything to do with the price of a product and everything to do with how well a company reconciles its interests with the best interests of its customers-slash-users.

Apple isn't perfect in that regard. The company's decision to send information about its users' searches to its own servers was ill-advised, its inability to implement common security tools is downright embarrassing, and its decision to partner with a state-owned telecom company in China to deliver its iMessages raises questions about its commitment to protecting its customers.

But damned if Apple doesn't screw its users as often as Facebook does. I only seem to recall one of those companies performing a psychological experiment without its participants' informed consent, or building an advertising platform that chases consumers across devices, or filling the skies with drones that can be outfitted with cameras that can capture everything beneath them. I'll give you a hint to help you guess the company I'm thinking of: it isn't named after a fruit.

Still, kudos to Zuckerberg for getting so much attention -- including my own, as evidenced by this post and my decision to post the quote to the PandoTicker yesterday -- with such a pithy and easily-rebutted statement. It's not every day Facebook manages to make itself seem like the good guy, or at least like there are other bad guys out there, but Zuck's quote did just that quite well.

Now if only Facebook could be praised for aligning itself with its customers instead of trying to set up a disingenuous argument smearing a company that has criticized its business model.

[illustration by Brad Jonas]