The internal firestorm at Apple was a rarity for a company that has mostly sidestepped related controversies that have plagued Alphabet Inc.’s Google and other technology companies.
“We are profoundly distraught by what this hire means for Apple’s commitment to its inclusion goals, as well as its real and immediate impact on those working near Mr. Garcia Martinez,” a group of Apple employees wrote in the memo. “It calls into question parts of our system of inclusion at Apple, including hiring panels, background checks, and our process to ensure our existing culture of inclusion is strong enough to withstand individuals who don’t share our inclusive values.”
Earlier in his career, Garcia Martinez worked on ad targeting at Facebook. When he was hired at Apple, industry observers questioned the move as his advertising approach at Facebook strongly differed from the privacy-centric approach Apple says it takes with its advertising efforts.
In an interview with Vox in 2018, Garcia Martinez said, “most people don’t care about privacy. Media elites care about it, underemployed Eurocrats care about it. And the entire privacy-industrial complex -- there’s an entire set of very loud voices who are constantly beating the drum and building media careers around this.”
Apple has ad slots in the App Store, Apple News and Stocks apps, but has clamped down on the ability for third-party app developers like Facebook to target users with personalized ads.