- Tim Cook has said people sowing “hate, division, or violence” have no place on Apple platforms. He specifically decried white supremacists.
- Cook said Apple showed this year that it won’t enable “violent conspiracy theorists,” in an apparent reference to Alex Jones, who Apple permanently banned from its platforms earlier this year.
- He appeared to take a dig at Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, saying now is not the time “to get tied up in knots” when dealing with hate speech.
After being awarded the first “Courage Against Hate” award by the Anti-Defamation League, Tim Cook gave a speech saying tech needs to take a moral stand against white supremacy.
In doing so, the Apple CEO appeared to take the latest in a long line of swipes against some of his rivals, including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
Apple took a strong stance against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in August, removing his podcasts from iTunes and its podcast app. This set off a chain reaction of big tech companies booting the Infowars host off their platforms.
“At Apple, we believe technology needs to have a clear point of view on this challenge,” Cook said on Monday night. “There is no time to get tied up in knots. That’s why we only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division, or violence: You have no place on our platforms. You have no home.”
He added: “If we can’t be clear on moral questions like these then we’ve got big problems. At Apple, we are not afraid to say that our values drive our curation decisions. Doing what’s right – creating experiences free from violence and hate, experiences that empower creativity and new ideas – is what our customers want us to do.”
The “tied up in knots” comment could be read as a message for the platforms that swiftly followed Apple in banning Jones.
Facebook removed the conspiracy theorist, but this was after suspending him for 30 days in July. YouTube took similar action, again after a previous suspension. Twitter permanently suspended Jones in September, but again this was after an earlier temporary suspension.
Although Apple did also dither over Jones. It permanently removed the Infowars app from the App Store for “objectionable content” in September, despite having stated it had no plans to do so in August.
Cook continued: “The most sacred thing that each of is given is our judgement, our morality, our own innate desire to separate right from wrong. Choosing to set that responsibility aside at a moment of trial is a sin.”
He went on to say that Apple has always prohibited music with a history of white supremacy. “Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. And as we showed this year, we won’t give a platform to violent conspiracy theorists. Why? Because it’s the right things to do,” he said.
Cook has repeatedly called out rivals this year, without actually naming them. In particular, he has taken a swipe at the privacy standards of firms like Facebook following the catastrophic Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
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