Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Monday that tech companies have a moral obligation to ban certain people and certain types of content from social media and technology platforms, going as far as to suggest that not banning them is “a sin.”
Cook made the remarks while “accepting the Anti-Defamation League’s first-ever ‘Courage Against Hate’ award at an event in New York City,” CNN reported.
“We only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division, and violence: You have no place on our platforms,” Cook said. “You have no home here.”
“If we can’t be clear on moral questions like these, then we’ve got big problems,” Cook continued. “I believe the most sacred thing that each of us is given is our judgment, 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.”
“From the earliest days of iTunes to Apple Music today, we have always prohibited music with a message of white supremacy,” Cook added. “Why? Because it is the right thing to do.”
“As we showed this year, we won’t give a platform to violent conspiracy theorists on the App Store,” Cook continued, referencing Apple’s decision to remove podcasts from Alex Jones from its Podcast app. “We believe the future should belong to those who use technology to build a better, more inclusive, and more hopeful world.”
Last December, Cook praised China’s overwhelming control over the internet in the communist country while speaking at a conference in the eastern Chinese city of Wuzhen. The Washington Post reported:
The World Internet Conference held in the eastern Chinese city of Wuzhen is meant to promote China’s vision of “cyber-sovereignty” — the idea that governments all over the world should have the right to control what appears on the Internet in their countries.
In practice, in China, that amounts to the largest system of censorship and digital surveillance in the world, where criticism of the Communist Party is sharply curtailed and can even land you in jail.
But that wasn’t mentioned when Cook delivered a keynote speech on the opening day of the gathering Sunday.
Instead, Cook said that China’s vision for the internet “is a vision we at Apple share.”
“We are proud to have worked alongside many of our partners in China to help build a community that will join a common future in cyberspace,” Cook added.
Cook’s comments drew instant criticism online from political analysts, former employees, and lawyers — including nationally recognized attorney Harmeet Dhillon:
In a statement to The Daily Wire, Dhillon said: “Social media companies and their big tech enablers have been fattening themselves at the expense of traditional media and consumers behind the shield of the now-outmoded CDA 230 immunity, which provided a nascent industry with cover to develop — cover that has now allowed them to eclipse their traditional media peers, and which has allowed them to drive many media companies out of business through social media dominance of digital advertising.”
“Apple makes a substantial amount of its revenue as an app platform for applications that enjoy outmoded immunity,” Dhillon continued. “It’s high time that CDA 230 be re-evaluated and adapted to the current market realities, where all media companies should operate under the same rules. Moreover, it is past time for the DOJ’s Antitrust Division to carefully examine the negative impacts of monopoly/duopoly power in certain markets, before social media companies complete their near-total dominance over the digital advertising, online media, and information search markets.”