Tim Cook Intensifies Apple Censorship Through App Store

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Most of the time when conservatives and libertarians think of censorship by the large technology companies, the image that comes to mind is some leftwing millennial in a Silicon Valley cubicle who is blocking their article post from others’ view.

They are often told they have “violated (company’s) terms of use” or something similarly mysterious, then are left to stew without any explanation from an actual human being.

But the extermination of conservative thought from accessing the Internet is becoming more comprehensive.

The effort by the Left and the platforms they control (think Google and Apple, as well as Facebook and Twitter) has escalated from muting these voices, to cutting off their oxygen.

For a while conservatives could count on at least having equal access to Big Tech’s platforms, whether they were search engines; phone, tablet and computer operating system applications (or “apps”); or social media.

That expectation is no longer assured.

Take the case of geologist Gregory Wrightstone, who discovered that Apple removed his app titled “Inconvenient Facts,” which challenges the prevailing climate alarmism agenda with information backed up by data and logic.

“It’s very rare for an app to be approved and then taken down unless there is offensive material or some other extreme issue,” said Wrightstone in an interview with The Daily Signal.

While iPhone users can no longer access the evidence presented by Wrightstone, Google has taken no such similar action on its Android platform. Why would that be?

Wrightstone suspects it is because top global warming false prophet Al Gore is a board member for Apple, which has allowed a multitude of alarmist climate change apps in its online store.

“It appears that Apple has chosen to weaponize its control over purchasing apps to stifle science that doesn’t conform to its politically correct notions,” he told The Daily Signal.

Religious and viewpoint discrimination have also escalated at Apple. In recent months the company, under pressure from a radical pro-homosexuality agenda group, removed the app of Living Hope Ministries, a Christian organization that focuses on helping individuals who want to overcome unwanted same-sex attractions. The ministry follows and teaches the Biblical instruction that homosexuality is sin and that healing and ability to repent can be found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

“We help people understand who they are in Christ,” said executive director Ricky Chelette to NBC News in December. “We only help those individuals who are seeking us.”

The LGBT advocacy group that pushed for the removal, Truth Wins Out, had previously urged Apple to eliminate the app of a now-closed Christian ministry to gay-identified individuals, Exodus International. In the case of Living Hope Ministries, Truth Wins Out was able to convince Apple to remove its app with a measly 356 individuals on a Change.org petition (thus far Google has not caved to the pressure).

“We thank Apple for exemplifying corporate responsibility and taking swift action to remove a dangerous app that stigmatizes and demeans LGBT people,” said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen in a statement.

If following Biblical instruction to counsel troubled individuals confused about their gender or sexual identity is worth banishment, then Apple will need to remove thousands of conservative churches’ apps from its store.

Apple’s ministry censorship also extends to the abortion issue. Pro-life group Human Coalition had its app removed from Apple’s store in late 2017 after leftist bloggers complained about it. The organization’s app primarily sought to organize prayer for “for abortion-determined families as they walk through their decision process.”

Apparently both prayer and trying to prevent abortion are too dishonorable, or threatening, to allow on Apple’s iOS system. Even searching on “abortion” in the App Store returns several results to help women find one, but there is no such equivalent when searching on the term “pro-life” if a woman wants to preserve her pregnancy.

And of course Apple joined the censorship mob (Twitter, Facebook and Google) in September 2018 by removing InfoWars and Alex Jones from its platform, citing guidelines that say apps should not include content that is “offensive, insensitive, upsetting, intended to disgust, or in exceptionally poor taste,” nor exhibit “defamatory, discriminatory, or mean-spirited content, including references or commentary about religion, race, sexual orientation, gender, national/ethnic origin, or other targeted groups, particularly if the app is likely to humiliate, intimidate, or place a targeted individual or group in harm’s way.”

Those requirements are so extensive and broad that Apple can use any excuse to ban anyone they want just because they don’t like or disagree with them.

That’s also the case with the app created by social media site Gab.com, which is the free speech alternative to censorship-happy Twitter. Gab, whose standards are grounded in the First Amendment, says it is “a social network that champions free speech, individual liberty and the free flow of information online. All are welcome.” That means conservatives, liberals, pro-lifers, pro-abortionists, LGBTs, and Bible-believers.

But both Google and Apple have banned Gab from their App offerings because free speech means some “hate speech” gets through.

“’We only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division and violence: You have no place on our platforms, you have no home here,’ said Apple CEO Tim Cook, while accepting the Anti-Defamation League’s “Courage Against Hate” award last year. “We believe the future should belong to those who use technology to build a better, more inclusive, and more hopeful world.”

Instead what Apple’s policy does is exclude. As Aaron Renn of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research noted, together Apple and Google control 98 percent of the market for mobile phone operating systems, and the Internet is now accessed through mobile by the vast majority (and it’s still growing).

“Google and Apple have used their duopoly status to revoke the First Amendment on mobile phones,” Renn wrote. “Because the Internet is now majority mobile, and a growing majority of all Web traffic comes from mobile devices, the First Amendment is now effectively dead in the mobile sphere unless policymakers act to rein in the tech giants who serve as corporate gatekeepers to digital speech.”