Yesterday the CEO of private messaging app Pavel Durov revealed that the company has been pressured by Apple to censor content on their app.
Specifically, Apple demanded that Telegram removed 3 channels which related to the Belarusian uprising, saying they were “disclosing personal information.” Durov objected to the demands given that the channels were specifically designed to expose government oppressors, but the company had little choice given that otherwise, Apple would ban their app from iOS.
What irked Durov even more however was that Apple demanded that Telegram users not be informed that this action was taken on Apple’s behalf, saying this information was “irrelevant.”
Previously, when removing posts at Apple’s request, Telegram replaced those posts with a notice that cited the exact rule limiting such content for iOS users. However, Apple reached out to us a while ago and said our app is not allowed to show users such notices because they were “irrelevant”.
By hiding their demands with vague language, Apple is trying to avoid the responsibility of enforcing their own rules. It is understandable: according to this poll, over 94% of Belarusian users think the channels that made Apple worry should be left alone.
Durov notes that Apple used the same language of information being “irrelevant” to object to Facebook informing their users of Apple’s 30% Apple Tax, saying:
I strongly disagree with Apple’s definition of “irrelevant”. I think the reason certain content was censored or why the price is 30% higher is the opposite of irrelevant.
Apple has the right to be greedy and formalistic (or maybe not – that’s something for the courts and regulators to decide). But it’s time Apple learned to assume responsibility for their policy instead of trying to hide it from users – they deserve to know.
The recent tide of anti-Apple sentiment has exposed much of the company’s underhanded goings-on, including pressuring apps to include in-app purchases which Apple can then profit from and making special deals with some companies, something Apple claimed they never did. Apple has however fought to keep their captive population of users blissfully unaware of their golden cages.
Did our readers know that Apple interfered directly with the content of messaging apps? Let us know below.