Apple CEO Tim Cook has waded into the controversy surrounding a batch of incendiary Russian-sponsored Facebook ads, recently paraded by irate politicians on Capitol Hill, by warning that the scourge of ‘fake news’ poses a far graver long-term threat.
Speaking to NBC Cook voiced his opinion that false and misleading articles propagated on social media has the potential to cause far greater harm for the US owing to its potential to spread like wildfire, exacerbating existing political divisions in the process.
Cook said: "I don't believe that the big issue are ads from foreign governments. I believe that's like 0.1 percent of the issue. 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’s comments follow the release of a small selection of around 3,000 adverts purchased by accounts which were later traced back to Russia which sought to incite community tensions in the US around the 2016 presidential election.
The US intelligence community believes that Russia was actively involved in attempts to disrupt the 2016 vote. Donald Trump's campaign director has previously credited Facebook 'embeds' with helping to propel Trump into the White House.