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Apple Refused To Remove Negative Ratings of Facebook

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Since its inception, Apple has become a giant in the consumer electronics industry, especially in smartphones and personal computers. The fact that it is one of the most valuable brands in the world is enough for many to trust the company with its stance and products.    All being said, the company has its fair share […]

by  Brad S |  July 16, 2022 |  Read 5 min

Since its inception, Apple has become a giant in the consumer electronics industry, especially in smartphones and personal computers. The fact that it is one of the most valuable brands in the world is enough for many to trust the company with its stance and products.   

All being said, the company has its fair share of controversies. In many instances, competitors such as Steam and Facebook have dragged the brand to court over anti-competitive practices in its App Store.

In the recent events over the Palestinian and Israel conflict, Facebook came under a lot of fire from activists and other users over its handling of content regarding the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Gaza bombing.

In this post, we will go through the mishandling of the issue by Facebook and Instagram (same parent company) and Apple’s stance in this regard, as well as its policies regarding ratings and reviews, and their responses. We will also shed ample light on why censorship is the biggest hurdle in the path to progress.   

Facebook & Instagram Mishandling Of The Issue

In the response to Israeli bombardment over Gaza and the inhumane treatment of Palestinians regarding Al-Aqsa Mosque, activists and common users took to the social media to condemn the heinous crimes.

To their surprise, Facebook and Instagram removed their content and in some cases, blocked profiles from the platform. This gave rise to another crisis in the virtual world with people starting a campaign to outlaw Facebook applications from Apple’s App Store.

According to reports, Facebook’s iOS application was demoted from the highest echelon in the App Store and recently stopped at around 2.3-star ratings.

Facebook staged a protest and requested the tech giant to take notice of the orchestrated attempt to hurt the social media giant.

Apple refuses to entertain the complaint due to its App Store Policies.  

Pro-Palestinian Sentiment

Due to the mounting atrocities of Israeli forces on civilians in Palestine and Gaza, activists staged a protest on social media. Being the most widely used social media platform, Facebook was the primary choice.

Millions of users and activists shared content in the favor of Palestine and against Israel. Contrary to their hopes and dreams, it was met with not so cordial response from the social media giant.  

According to users, their posts were removed and many accounts were blocked. At first, the company claimed that all of the steps were taken because of the allegiance of people to a “terrorist” organization.

Later people revealed that there was neither any mention of a terrorist organization nor was there any breach of trust in terms of user responses. Many considered an extreme episode of censorship by a company that is so vocal about liberty freedom, and freedom of speech.

To further clear its stance, Facebook said that all of the activity was automated through algorithms and bots and they picked up false signals.      

Censorship – Hurdle In Progress

In this day and age, it is hard to imagine a big corporation, such as Facebook, partaking in mass censorship. In many instances, the company has asserted and reasserted its position as the forefront leader in the openness and decentralization of the internet. Along the same lines, the whole idea of having a global platform with billions of active users is to have your voice heard.

Ironically, the West often criticizes China and its anti-democratic practices such as its lack of personal liberty and freedom. But even the most liberal countries have often shown their dark facade by silencing the voices of dissent.

Here are some of the reasons why censorship is worse in all shapes, forms, and sizes and a bane to real human progress.

Apple’s Stance

Apple unanimously turned down the request of Facebook in terms of meddling with the issue. It has a stringent stance when it comes to online ratings, reviews, and responses in its App Store.

In this latest, no matter how assertive and vocal Facebook was, Apple did not budge and let the whole incident play its course. This development leads us to the next section in this regard – Apple policies and system regarding ratings, reviews, and responses

How Apple AppStore’s Ratings & Reviews System Work

To better understand Apple’s stance in this episode, it is best to go through the official policies of the Cupertino-based tech giant. It is worth mentioning that Apple is known for its stringent pro-consumer policies in terms of data collection, processing, and storage. 

This is one of the reasons why customers are willing to pay the premium on Apple’s services and products because they know that they will never be cheated or sold out for their data.

In this section, we will take a look at the policies regarding App Store ratings, reviews, and responses.    

Ratings

In the App Store, users can rate any app from one star to a five-star scale. This is common for all apps, in addition to their summary ratings that are displayed on the product page and search results for customers to check before downloading.

All of this development is disturbed when a new version of an application is released. In the same post, Apple advised app developers to use this option with care as it can affect the search ratings of an application.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the summary ratings do not affect the app’s written reviews.

Devices: Users need to employ their relevant devices to share ratings and reviews regarding applications. iOS, iPad, macOS, and tvOS applications require relevant devices to rate an application or leave a review. Contrary to this, watchOS applications can be reviewed and rated through any iOS device.

Reviews

Written reviews allow users to share their experiences in more detail with other users. It is often preferred by users to get into details that are hard to be described by simple one to five-star ratings.

The rule applies the same to devices when it comes to leaving reviews and ratings.

Responses

Developers are allowed to leave appropriate responses to ratings and reviews in App Store. Apple suggests companies should get in touch with clients to make sure that other users can see it and ascertain reliable inferences from it.

Companies should concisely address the issues and feedback. Still, companies should prioritize the responses to make sure the most influential content is not left out in the sea of feedback.

Reporting Concerns?

If a developer finds a review or feedback that is not in line with the policies of Apple, such as inappropriate content, offensives terms, etc., app developers should report the concern instead of replying to the comment.

Conclusion

The episode of Israeli aggression over the Palestinian populace is another glaring example of social media platforms censoring content that was not in line with their “in-house” policies. The incident also showed that companies like Apple are stringent in their stance and do not budge under pressure.

As for end-users, they can always rely on a concerted effort to play with policies and online algorithms to get their voices heard. 

 

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