Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said during a Fox News interview Wednesday that Apple is making a big “mistake” when it comes to siding with the Chinese Communist Party and their crackdowns on protests throughout China.
“Corporate appeasement of the Chinese Communist Party is pretty rampant,” Graham told Fox News. “I like Apple. They’re a great American company. But the Chinese Communist Party writes the rules of the road. And to do business in China, you either leave the customer base or you follow their lead.”
“The NBA has appeased China. The movie industry appeases China, now Apple. And I think this is a — this is a mistake,” he continued. “So, you have got Apple threatening to take Twitter out of the Apple Store and at the same time doing the bidding of the Communist Party, restricting sharing of information to people who are trying to protest.”
“I think we have got it backwards here,” he added. “And I think what drives this is just money and market share.”
On Wednesday, Twitter CEO Elon Musk met with Apple CEO Tim Cook, after which Musk tweeted regarding the notion that Twitter would be removed from the App Store: “Among other things, we resolved the misunderstanding about Twitter potentially being removed from the App Store. Tim was clear that Apple never considered doing so.”
SANDRA SMITH, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: The Chinese Communist Party cracking down on protesters as they rally against COVID lockdowns.
We are now learning America’s largest company, Apple, has restricted the use of its AirDrop feature in the communist nation. It allowed users to share content between Apple devices and dodge China’s censorship. And now Elon Musk says Apple’s threatening to boot Twitter from its App Store.
So, how did we get to a point where big tech companies consider 280 characters a bigger threat than the communist regime?
Let’s bring in South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.
Senator, good to have you here today.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Thank you.
SMITH: Why are we here today? And why are we not going tougher on China for its behavior?
GRAHAM: Money. You got a billion people in China.
Corporate appeasement of the Chinese Communist Party is pretty rampant. I like Apple. They’re a great American company. But the Chinese Communist Party writes the rules of the road. And to do business in China, you either leave the customer base or you follow their lead.
The NBA has appeased China. The movie industry appeases China, now Apple. And I think this is a — this is a mistake. So, you have got Apple threatening to take Twitter out of the Apple Store and at the same time doing the bidding of the Communist Party, restricting sharing of information to people who are trying to protest.
I think we have got it backwards here. And I think what drives this is just money and market share.
JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Yes, well, obviously too Apple has got a lot invested in this…
ROBERTS: … because of the protests against the COVID lockdowns at Foxconn factories. It looks like Apple is going to be short some six million iPhone Pros this year. So that’s definitely going to hurt their bottom line.
But it also gets into the idea of free speech when we pull back to 30,000 feet here, and we take a look at the idea that Apple, according to Elon Musk, may reexamine whether or not the Twitter app is available on the Apple Store.
And Musk also tweeted this — quote — “Apple has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter. Do they hate free speech in America?”
GRAHAM: Well, all I can say, that Apple is a private company and Twitter’s a private company. They have their differences.
I would hope that Apple would keep allowing Twitter to be part of the Apple Store. But, big tech, you can’t sue these people because of Section 230. And there’s no regulatory scheme that works.
So I’m going to unveil a Digital Regulatory Commission to deal with social media companies like Apple and Twitter and Google. We need some regulatory environment to control the abuses of power here. So, I’m going to do that with Elizabeth Warren. You look for something that can bring us together in Washington, social media is out of control. They need to be regulated in some fashion.
And I think that brings both parties together.
SMITH: OK, so then maybe you agree with Karine Jean-Pierre at the Biden White House, who said this. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We’re all keeping a close eye on this. We’re all monitoring what’s — what’s currently occurring. And we see — we see it with our own eyes of what you all are reporting and just for ourselves what’s happening on Twitter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: So, the White House says it’s keeping a close eye on what is happening at Twitter.
SMITH: Do you agree with — with that?
GRAHAM: No, I think somebody needs to regulate social media companies, who are the largest companies on the planet.
If they take down your content — I like Elon Musk. Well, there may be somebody in charge of Twitter tomorrow that I don’t like. So, what happens if you’re a consumer if Twitter or any other group takes your content down? You have to appeal to the company yourself — itself.
I want to create a process where a consumer can make their case that my rights were abused to somebody other than the company. I’m not asking the White House to watch Twitter. We have the commission for securities. We have a commission for about every activity in America to make sure the consumer is protected.
When it comes to social media, your privacy is at risk, your content can be taken down because somebody doesn’t like you or what you’re saying. We need to have a system to deal with those problems.
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