Apple exec: ‘We think free speech is important but we don’t think it’s everything’

Eddy Cue KTLA
  • Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue spoke at the South by Southwest festival on Monday.
  • Cue discussed everything from Apple’s acquisitions philosophy to the Warriors basketball team.
  • He also touched on the issue of free speech and why Apple has banned apps that sell guns.

At the South by Southwest conference in Austin, CNN’s Dylan Byers conducted a far ranging interview with Eddy Cue,Apple senior vice president of Internet Software and Services.

Topics ranged from why Apple should (or shouldn’t buy Netflix) to the playoff hopes of the Bay Area’s basketball team, the Golden State Warriors (Cue is known to be a huge basketball fan).

Naturally Byer’s also quizzed Cue on the topic de jour: the tech industry’s responsibility in everything from the epidemic of fake news influencing the election, to its role in brain-hacking, app addiction.

When asked if Facebook, Google and Reddit have a responsibility to do better on those areas, Cue wouldn’t call out any particularly tech adversary by name. But he did say, “I think everybody has a responsibility.”

And he added that “free speech” is not an excuse. “We think free speech is important but we don’t think it’s everything.”

No guns and no bomb-making apps

“It’s important for Americans to have debates on certain issues,” he said,”but we don’t think hate speech from white supremacists is important free speech.”

He gave as an example, how Apple has always banned “bomb-making apps. We don’t think that kind of content belongs on our platform.”

Ditto for apps that sell guns, which are also not allowed.

At the same time, Cue explained Apple’s decision not to ban or yank the National Rifle Association’s TV app, which streams videos for gun enthusiasts. Cue said that it doesn’t violate Apple’s rules.

In the wake of the Florida shootings, gun safety activists on Twitter were calling on Amazon, not Apple, to ban the app from its platforms in a campaign called #StopNRAmazon.