Apple CEO Tim Cook isn’t the best liar. When asked what went into the decision-making process that resulted in the removal of Alex Jones’ podcast and app, he just couldn’t seem to tell the truth. He even declared firmly that the decision was not political. Cook then spun up a yarn about how this form of curation is exactly what the user wants.
In his mind, customers really desire to have their options limited for them by some corporate stranger in a distant city. Not only that, but apparently they desire for the fourth highest ranking news app to be removed—all in the name of curation.
Thank heavens all those folks that downloaded Alex Jones’ app can rest assured that no one else will be able to do so. Another day saved by Apple!
Can I get a hallelujah?
In the video published by Vice, Cook sat down to an interview with a very strange reporter. She began her segment in a hushed voice narrating a brief montage of interactions between Cook and some Apple fanboys before finishing with the most cringe-inducing of lines:
“He and Apple want to tell you, on this issue, they’re not like the other guys.”
Then the interview began.
“I’m not like the other tech CEOs”
Here’s exactly what Cook said and how it measures up to the facts
“What users want from us and what we’ve always provided them is a curated platform. We think that what the user wants is someone that does review these apps, someone that does review the podcast, someone that—on like apple news—where a human is selecting the top stories. And that’s what we do,” Cook told Vice News Tonight.
Essentially, he’s hoping to convince the viewer that there’s ‘nothing to see here.’ While Cook might hope that a casual passerby will buy into this narrative, anyone with ten minutes of free time can search some quotes from Apple spokespeople during the removal of Jones’ podcast in August. Here’s one such example:
An Apple spokesperson told Mashable at the time the company “does not tolerate hate speech, and we have clear guidelines that creators and developers must follow to ensure we provide a safe environment for all of our users.”
The unnamed spokesperson seems to clearly indicate that this wasn’t a simple decision related to curation matters. The removal of Jones’ podcast was a punishment for what Apple saw a problematic behavior, specifically hate speech.
The last time I checked, an attempt to curtail ‘hate speech’ is often referred to as “political correctness.” It’s right there in the word!
Cook is saying the customer isn’t always right, the customer desires curation.
Apparently views on hate speech have nothing to do with politics in Cook’s mind:
“We don’t take a political stand, we’re not leaning one way or another. You can tell that from the stuff on the app store, in the podcasts, et cetera. You’ll see everything from very conservative to very liberal and that’s the way I think it should be,” he said.
“I don’t want to get into a singular kind of event, but I think there’s enough there that reasonable people would agree: that if you’re going to curate, that should be off,” he concluded somewhat more forcefully letting his interviewer know that he was done with this topic.
This form of curation, where a top-performing application is removed from the app store, is exactly the type of big brother behavior Tim Cook says he doesn’t believe in. After all, when Infowars hit number four on the Apple charts, that was a signal of popular demand and the free market at work. Here’s what Cook had to say:
“I’m not a pro-regulation kind of person, I believe in the free market deeply,” Cook said. But, he added, “when the free market doesn’t produce a result that’s great for society, you have to ask yourself: what do we need to do? And I think some level of government regulation is important to come out of that.”
Tim Cook, Business Insider
Cook kneels and prays at the altar of the free market gods so long as they allow him to employ tiny Asian hands in sweatshops halfway across the globe. That is the free market he refers to. A free exchange of ideas? No. A free and open app store where competition flourishes? Nonsense.
The customer isn’t always right in Cook’s world. The customer desires curation.