Apple told creators of some of the original shows for its Apple TV Plus service to avoid portraying China negatively, says a report. The news comes as Apple faces criticism for removing an app used by Hong Kong protesters from its App Store. It also comes amid anger at perceived efforts by US businesses to maintain access to one of the globe's biggest markets by playing along with China's Communist government.
Early last year, Apple's head of international content development, Morgan Wandell, and its SVP of internet software and services, Eddy Cue, gave the China-related guidance to some show developers, BuzzFeed News reported late Friday, citing unnamed sources. BuzzFeed said the move was part of Apple's continuing efforts to remain on the Chinese government's good side, after iTunes Movies and the iBooks Store were shuttered in China six months after their 2016 debut there.
Following public outcry, Apple CEO Tim Cook sent an email to his employees defending the decision. Cook said Apple received information from users in Hong Kong and from the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau that the app was being used to target individual officers and "victimize individuals and property where no police are present."
The app's developers said there's no evidence to support those claims, and others, including noted Apple blogger John Gruber, expressed skepticism that the app was being used as Cook described.
And the NBA is also tangled up in a controversy with China. Earlier this month, Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for the protests in Hong Kong. Chinese officials criticized the tweet and some sponsors reportedly cut ties with the team and with the NBA as a whole. Morey deleted the tweet and apologized for his comments, and the NBA has been trying to smooth things over.
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