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Apple Censors Consumer Report iPhone4 Discussions

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  • by Chrisq (894406) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:12AM (#32886778)
    It will be an "advantage" over Android, that the forums are not cluttered with unnecessary information.
  • by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:13AM (#32886782) Homepage

    ...we're Apple! Now shut up and buy this overpriced device that is marginally better than the more expensive one you bought last year!

  • why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by butterflysrage (1066514) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:15AM (#32886808)

    Streisand effect.. I never heard of the review until they made such a stink trying to keep me from hearing about the review.

  • by AndrewNeo (979708) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:16AM (#32886822) Homepage

    s/unnecessary/obvious/

  • by 8127972 (73495) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:16AM (#32886828)

    ... That once claimed that 1984 wouldn't be like 1984.

  • by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:17AM (#32886838)

    Because apple spends so much time trying to convince us they're our friends, that the inflated price tag is because they do much better engineering, and generally snobbing anything else. For them to censor unbiased analysis of their product is inexcusable. They should be on their board either explaining why the consumer reports article is incorrect, or apologizing profusely (replacing the overpriced and broken hardware people have).

  • by CritterNYC (190163) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:23AM (#32886920) Homepage

    Apple is about freedom. Freedom from porn. Freedom from criticism. Freedom from competition. Freedom from objective discussions. Freedom from the truth.

    Apple little world is looking more like 1984 every day.

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:23AM (#32886924)

    ...How do you explain this? Sadly, these fanboys will be outside Apple stores a few years down the road to buy the 'latest' and 'greatest' Apple product of the time...even when it's riddled with obvious defects like the iPhone 4.

    After all no one in the industry cares more about the customer experience better than Apple. Right?

  • by Pieroxy (222434) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:23AM (#32886934) Homepage

    So... I don't want to sound like an Apple fanboy, but nobody ever said that the Apple forums on Apple's website are a place of free speech, right? I haven't read the terms & conditions of course, but I'm pretty sure there is a clause allowing them to "moderate" according to whatever values they want. AFAIK, they don't censor all the forums on the web...

    So how is this censorship?

    I mean, it sounds reasonable to prevent my angry customers from displaying all their filth on the front of my shop doesn't it?

    Also, I don't get the class actions lawsuits... You buy a product. It's crap. Now you sue the manufacturer? Where are we going with this? Can I sue the national lottery for not having won with the ticket they sold me?

    In my world: You buy a product. It's crap. You get a refund and don't buy again from the company.

    Maybe it's me....

  • by v1 (525388) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:24AM (#32886946) Homepage Journal

    Amazing this surprises anyone. It's like protesters protesting against a store WHILE IN THE STORE. Of course they're going to kick you out. You're free to protest on the street or anywhere else for that matter.

    If I paint up a sign that says "WalMart - Buy More, Pay Less, Eat Lead Paint" and walk around wal mart waving it I'll last about 10 seconds. But somehow when Apple does it, it's absurd?

    It took them what, a couple days to react to the issue and start working on a fix, (the hiring of the antenna engineers we saw recently) so they're obviously trying to fix the problem. There's nothing to be gained by harassing them while they work on a fix for you, that will almost certainly be free.

    Owell I suppose this comes with the territory. Apple wants to be chic and hip and trendy and on everyone's mind, this is just the dark side of that position. Do a good job and people will run around saying it's fabulous, do a poor job and people will run around saying its horrible. It's just a game of extremes.

  • by khendron (225184) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:25AM (#32886952) Homepage

    They never said that 2010 wouldn't be like 1984.

  • by lennier1 (264730) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:26AM (#32886998)

    It's always kinda funny to see how they've become what that classic TV spot wanted to rebel against.

    And after years of using that Microsoft Borg logo we really need an Apple Borg logo as well.

  • by biryokumaru (822262) <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:27AM (#32887006)

    If someone says something, and you remove it, that's censorship. I'm not saying Apple isn't within their rights to censor their own website, but there's no question that it is censorship.

    Think different indeed.

  • by Enderandrew (866215) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {werdnaredne}> on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:29AM (#32887032) Homepage Journal

    I say this as a guy who purchased an iPhone 4, but Apple is never your friend.

    They are right up there with Microsoft on the evil scale.

  • by Pieroxy (222434) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:30AM (#32887066) Homepage

    So if someone draws "motherf*cker" on your car and you are getting it removed, it is censorship? Don't you think your definition is a bit broad?

  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:32AM (#32887098)

    They want a cool, sharp, designed world where everything is taken care of, by the caring giant that is Steve Jobs. He cares. He makes the world a better place. You don't have to worry about it.

    Didn't someone write a book about that?

     

  • by zlogic (892404) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:38AM (#32887198)

    That's a perfect example of doublethink. Remember how Apple said there would be no multitasking, no native apps because they're stupid and iPhone is perfect without them?
    The reality distortion field is weak in comparison because it says "Apple is right, if you disagree, you don't understand our awesomeness" while doublethink allows Apple to contradict themselves and get away with it.

  • by urulokion (597607) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:38AM (#32887200)

    You're right in that Apple is free to moderate their boards however they wish. But you are missing the point. Image is very important to Apple. They are trying to keep "the Image" intact. But ultimately Apple is tarnishing "the Image". They are trying to control information in a very Orwellian way (i.e. "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength."). And what makes it very damning and hugely ironic, is that Apple is turning into the very thing they fought against in their very first Macintosh Commercial.

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:42AM (#32887270)
    That depends on the circumstances. If you invite people to draw on your car, then restrict what they are allowed to draw, then yes, it is censorship. Apple runs a forum for its users, but removes critical threads from that forum -- how that is anything but censorship is a mystery to me.
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:44AM (#32887300)

    So... I don't want to sound like an Apple fanboy, but nobody ever said that the Apple forums on Apple's website are a place of free speech, right? I haven't read the terms & conditions of course, but I'm pretty sure there is a clause allowing them to "moderate" according to whatever values they want. AFAIK, they don't censor all the forums on the web...

    So how is this censorship?

    It certainly fits one of the definitions of censorship. You end up in a tricky area. A restaurant can choose not to serve hard liquor or beer and wine. That's no problem, you can always go to another one that does. If the government prevents anyone from doing it, that's where you have a dry county. But it's not national prohibition, people just go to the next county over to get their beer. I think the whole dry county thing is silly but it is, strictly speaking to the letter of the law, legal.

    Apple's actions are corporate censorship. Not illegal but simply awful PR.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship [wikipedia.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:44AM (#32887314)

    No. Removing a curse is a form of censorship, but in this case, most likely acceptable. In the case of Apple purposely removing the Consumer Report references in order to 'Control the Message', this is a form of censorship intended to control the public perception of their company and products.

    The stupidity of Apples recent activities while they are clearly under the spotlight is quite telling of a company that is not capable of controlling the message once real problems occur.

    All good PR agencies would tell Apple to come clean with their issues, propose a solution and move one. But Apple somehow thinks they can control the message. They are simply creating more attention to their brand is hurting their company image.

    This self-desctructive behavior of Apple (Steve Jobs?) is quite bizaar, but telling at the same time.

  • by osgeek (239988) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:45AM (#32887334) Homepage Journal

    Since the side of your car isn't a public forum, then I would term it "cleaning up vandalism".

    Words are squishy things. PETA calls eating meat "murder". I had a very tasty pig murdered for my Cuban sandwich just yesterday. Strange, but I don't feel guilty about it.

  • by mizhi (186984) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:46AM (#32887340) Homepage

    And after years of using that Microsoft Borg logo we really need an Apple Borg logo as well.

    I think an Apple Lemming logo would be more appropriate. The Borg assimilated people by force - people didn't really want to become borg. Many people don't really want to use microsoft products, but must due to various factors, such as work.

    On the other hand, people who use Apple products generally do so because they want to use Apple products, even if they're slowly assimilating into a computing culture that they would have abhorred had it come from Microsoft.

    There's some broad brushing going on here, but I think my point is relatively clear.

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:47AM (#32887368)

    It's only censorship when the government does it.

    Funny, my dictionary does not include the word "government" in its definition of "censorship."

  • by causality (777677) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:47AM (#32887370)

    So if someone draws "motherf*cker" on your car and you are getting it removed, it is censorship? Don't you think your definition is a bit broad?

    That depends on whether his car was represented as a forum where one can post messages, complete with text boxes where one can type in a comment and click "Submit" or similar. I'm guessing his car doesn't fit that description, so no, that'd be the removal of vandalism, not the censorship of speech. It'd be easier to continue this discussion if you don't deliberately act obtuse.

    Apple had something to hide and because it was their own site they were successfully able to remove it in an attempt to hide it. That's really all there is to this. If their Web site and/or customer service staff had attributes like grace, dignity, or self-respect then they would write a helpful and professionally-worded response to any customer complaints and criticisms instead of censoring them.

    It's like that saying "if you want to see what sort of character a man has, look at how he treats his subordinates or other people he's not required to be nice to." Likewise, if you want to see how honest a company really is, look at how it handles dissent on a forum it controls. What a shame that Apple failed this one so badly. They could have used such discussion threads as an opportunity to show that they listen to their customers and use their feedback to improve their products. That would have been respectable. Instead we get this authoritarian "because we can" garbage in an attempt to cover something up.

    It's disgraceful. I am not a customer of Apple but if I were considering doing business with them, this would have made me reconsider.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:47AM (#32887384)

    They are right up there with Microsoft on the evil scale.

    Compared to Apple, I'd let Microsoft watch my children.

  • by steelfood (895457) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:50AM (#32887418)

    It's defensible in the same sense that the RIAA suing 83-year old dead grandmas that have never touched a computer in their lives is defensible.

    It's perfectly legal. The RIAA can bring whomever they want to court, even deceased people (they can sue the estate). It's their lawyers, and they can have their lawyers do whatever they want their lawyers to do.

    But if you do try to defend them, then you have no defense against our collective opinion that you're a douche.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:51AM (#32887436) Journal

    Discussing a serious hardware issue of a product brought up by a consumer products review magazine on a tech site dedicated to solving technical issues of the product is off-topic?

    This is why Apple fanbois are considered the retards of the computing world.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:56AM (#32887536)

    Yes, Apple is in a (mostly) free country. They are free to moderate their forum however they want - notice the absence of laws preventing them from doing so?

    By the same token, others are free to criticize their moderation policies. That's "free" as well. (And, of course, you are free to criticize the criticism, and I'm free to criticize your criticism of the criticism, and so on and so forth.)

    I really don't understand people who think their "freedom" is infringed when their actions or speech provoke criticism or disagreement. Sorry, freedom means freedom for everybody, not just you and the people you like.

  • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:58AM (#32887572)

    I agree as long as that person has innocent intent. Consumer Reports clearly created this article to sell copies rather than push factual information. Also, the reality is that a good amount of this type of "information" that was on the newsgroups was being put there by marketing firms who are being paid to push a certain agenda. The article "Is the Iphone 4 Apple's Vista" comes to mind here...

    Lets cut to the chase... If Apple is so concerned about negative information on the iPhone 4, do you honestly think that there would be a 3 week lead time on shipping the of the phone? No, they would not. Also, the antenna issue is completely overblown, and I am sure Consumer Reports knows this internally...

    Wow that must be great Kool-Aid. Clearly, a review that essentially says "We love this phone, but we can't recommend it until Apple fixes it so it can actually make phone calls." can only be a slanted hack-job to drive up circulation. Other than that one important detail, they all but gush over the greatness of the iPhone4. At this point, can you even remember what it was like to have a relationship with reality?

    Cue the obligatory Penny Arcade "I'm the guy who gives hand jobs to Steve Jobs" strip. Seriously.

  • So? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Androclese (627848) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @11:09AM (#32887778)
    It is a privately owned company (i.e. Not the Government) removing conversations from their website that they do not wish discussed on their property. They are well within their rights to do so.

    If they were performing this action or disrupting the conversation someplace other than their own property, that would be a huge! ...but on their own support forums? Sorry, I don't see the issue. The CS rating is a story worth discussing, but if Apple doesn't want it done on their site, there are other places (such as here) to do it.
  • by kg8484 (1755554) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @11:33AM (#32888146)

    Apple has no right to censor people for speaking their minds under these circumstances.

    Actually, it is well within it's rights to censor people posting on its bulletin board. Now, if Apple tries to get a restraining order against Consumer Reports or against people posting on Slashdot, then no, it is not within its rights. Again, I repeat, Apple is 100% within its rights to censor people posting on its forum. Doesn't mean it isn't unfair in some way, but still within it's rights.

  • Re:Look it up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blind biker (1066130) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @11:38AM (#32888226) Journal

    The multiple posts about an external magazine review have been removed because discussing magazine articles is offtopic for a tech support board, just as discussing the latest Huffington Post article on Angelina Jolie is offtopic.

    So, a magazine article about the iPhone is off-topic in a tech support board dedicated to the iPhone?

    Are you saying this with a straight face?

  • by hahn (101816) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @12:00PM (#32888544) Homepage

    You're right in that Apple is free to moderate their boards however they wish. But you are missing the point. Image is very important to Apple. They are trying to keep "the Image" intact. But ultimately Apple is tarnishing "the Image". They are trying to control information in a very Orwellian way (i.e. "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength."). And what makes it very damning and hugely ironic, is that Apple is turning into the very thing they fought against in their very first Macintosh Commercial.

    Well, if you also read the other Orwell story, Animal Farm, it's not really all that ironic. In fact, with their huge increase in wealth and power, it was probably inevitable.

  • by Me! Me! 42 (1153289) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @12:01PM (#32888566)
    It is after all a "support site," not a "chat site."
    It looks like there are lots of thoughtful discussions about the antenna issue, just no whining, which Apple has always deleted. Whining does not advance the support/trouble shooting goal of thew site.
    Also CU does not let you see their full results unless you pay them (since they do not take advertising to remove any direct conflict of interest.)
    Does this control of access to their site mean CU is "censoring" their site? I don't think so. Neither is Apple.
  • by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <almafuerteNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @12:11PM (#32888712)

    We already determined that. NOBODY here has said that what Apple did wasn't within its rights. We didn't say they have broken any law, or stepped into anyones rights.

    We said they censored, and other people cam saying "That's not censorship because it is their own website" and providing ridiculous examples like "If someone draws on your car and you remove it, is it censorship too?".

    Censorship is any selective restriction of what you can say on a certain medium. Selective is the key there. If I invite everyone to write on my car, that's not censorship. If I don't want anyone writing on my car, and I forbid car-writing on cars I won, that's not censorship either. If I invite people to write on my car, then I delete all of those things and paint it over, it is not censorship. If I invite people to write on my car freely, and then selectively erase some of the stuff written to leave only the stuff I agree with, that's censorship.

  • People tend to only use the word censorship on the Internet when they are pissed off at a moderator. I sometimes feel sorry for them when they have to do the work that everybody hates.

    This thread is closed as it was turning into a flamewar.. Censorship.

    This post was deleted for inappropriate language. Censorship.

    This post is off topic and has been moved to a board that is not searchable. Censorship.

    People break the forum EULA not to talk about copying DVDs, ROM hacking, and other illegals. Censorship.

    Slashdot has -1 disagree that people use to hide comments that they can't rate as wrong,flamebait, troll or be bothered to reply to. Censorship.

    I could very well see people writing unhelpful complaints about the iPhone who are not actually seeking help at all.

    I could see people trolling because they are so happy with their Blackberry that lets them to X, Y and Z while the iPhone locks them into the evil Apple empire where everybody are only drones. They don't want an over priced bumper or any of the other hippy shit. It's more fun just talking shit and getting the fanboiz riled.

    Honestly, I could see that as being the case for a number of the posts. As in real life, you can complain about things (and you have the right to), but at a certain point a store will kick you out for disturbing everybody else. Censorship.

  • by Jurily (900488) <jurily.gmail@com> on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @12:34PM (#32889058)

    Apple is 100% within its rights to censor people posting on its forum. Doesn't mean it isn't unfair in some way, but still within it's rights.

    That's not censorship, that's deciding what content you want to have on your website. Did they promise to leave every post as is, like Slashdot does?

  • by selven (1556643) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @12:35PM (#32889094)

    I'd put it in the "bad, but should not be illegal" category.

  • by dgatwood (11270) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @01:14PM (#32889700) Journal

    Censorship is censorship. It hardly matters WHY they are censoring.

    Sure it matters. It's hardly wrong to censor posts that violate the terms of use for a message board. In this case, term #2(3) [apple.com] says that posts should be either technical questions, solutions, or constructive feedback about a product. I suspect many of the threads were nothing but whining, which is neither constructive feedback nor a technical question or answer....

    The front page of a message board is a finite resource. People trying to help tend to read the first page, maybe the second, and that's about it. If people clog the boards with dozens of active threads that just complain without providing solutions or information that might help the manufacturer track down a problem, those noise threads end up burying real questions from people who are actually trying to get help with specific, solvable issues, at which point the entire board becomes useless.

    Bottom line: if you really feel the need to complain on the forums, post in one of the existing threads. Don't waste the limited front page space with more threads about the same subject. Creating tons of new threads on the subject is abusing the board, and I'm fine with Apple thinning the herd when that happens....

  • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @01:46PM (#32890216)

    CR did mention work-arounds, but there's a lot of phones on the market (i.e., basically all of them including earlier iPhones) that don't need one to perform their most basic function.

    I think it's fair to call that a sticking point -- if they thought the new Lexus was the greatest car ever but sometimes the brakes didn't work unless you slapped some duct tape on it, I'd expect them to withhold recommending that, too.

  • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @02:32PM (#32891016)

    A better analogy would be that the Lexus didn't come with a cup-holder, but you can purchase an after-market one for $30. It's not a show stopper because there is a workaround. If the iPhone antenna did not improve reception by adding a case, then it would be a show stopper.

    With all due respect, no, that is not a better analogy.

    The primary function of a phone is to make phone calls.

    The primary function of a car is not to hold my Mountain Dew.

  • by laird (2705) <lairdp@nOSPAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @04:40PM (#32892784) Journal

    "The primary function of a phone is to make phone calls."

    Which the iPhone 4 does quite well, unless you hold the bottom left corner.

    The issue is a real one, but it doesn't render the phone useless. You just can't hold it on one corner, unless you put your phone into a phone case (which is what most people do with expensive phones).

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