Campaign group Great Fire recently leveled charges against Apple, saying their biannual transparency reports are far from transparent and that the company conceals information about the apps it removes.
Apple prides itself on its transparency reporting, a sentiment I suspect stems from the company’s tendency to get into hot water unknowingly. The tech giant has been exposed to lawsuits and public controversies of any number, many of which range from its rather controversial monopolization to its profit-driven policies. Transparency reports are a way for Apple to tout a modicum of honesty and candor that many companies spend years trying to build with their target audience. Of course, at the end of the day, these are all billion dollar companies that only care about your investment and nothing more. Therefore, it falls rather easily to reason that Apple can choose to be a little dishonest with its consumers to end up looking all the better for it. And of course, when I type can, I mean very clearly done. That’s certainly the point Great Fire wants to make, and pretty strong too.
Great Fire (also stylized as GreatFire) is a campaign group that monitors the status of websites, apps, and other pages and platforms that are most commonly censored by the Chinese government’s Great Firewall . I’m sure China thought it was cute when it named a major obstacle to free speech after a wall built on human rights atrocities. Either way, Great Fire decided to take a closer look at Apple’s semi-annual reports and came to the conclusion that, well, someone was lying.
To put it in extremely simple terms, Apple’s transparency reports indicate that the company accepts requests to remove apps from China, of course, but they also cite reasons that don’t quite match up. Vague statements about background checks, app malfunctions, and all forms of speculative mistrust have been tagged on the literal hundreds of apps that have fallen victim to such enthusiastic ablation. The most likely reason why Apple is acquiescing to the Chinese government’s harsh and copious demands is simple: the company doesn’t want to lose a major market. One that, mind you, is also home to many of its factories. There won’t be much profit margin for Apple to chase if there’s no one making the iPhones. Either way, China isn’t done trying to sink massive corporations; just ask Jack Ma. Or, more accurately, ask him when he finally decides the way is clear and makes a public appearance a few years later.
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