Category Archives: censorship

Is Apple really trying to crush Fake Steve?

Just in time for the holidays. Daniel Lyons reports Apple is threatening legal action — and making a $500,000 offer — for him to shut down the Fake Steve Jobs blog. Lyons, the real author behind FSJ, says he had this exchange with Apple before Christmas:

Lyons: But you guys put Martin Luther King Jr. in your ads. And John Lennon. You had Gandhi in your ads. Gandhi, dude. Think about that. Think about what Gandhi did in his life, what he stood for, the price he paid for freedom of expression …

Apple lawyer: I’m authorized to go as high as five hundred thousand dollars, but that’s it.

If Lyons is simply mocking Apple’s recent shutdown of Nick Ciarelli, then that’s guts. But sadly, this feels true, because Lyons has broken character a bit and is expressing honest frustration as the imperiled author behind the scenes. We’re not sure what Apple will accomplish if its PR machine becomes the sole source of news and reviews about its products. But in the long run, if fans are shackled and prohibited from having a little communications fun, then Apple will end up with fewer fans.

Note to Apple: Information wants to be free.

A map of censorship around the globe

Communications gurus planning campaigns abroad now have an easy test for how problematic the local media market may be in carrying the messaging. Researchers at Cambridge, Harvard, Oxford and the University of Toronto have mapped the filtering of internet content in 41 nations around the world, and found 25 countries either block some topics completely or screen it.

Blocked communications included human rights, religion, politics, sex, gambling and drugs. The largest barriers to social topics such as gambling arose in Eastern Africa and the Middle East; China scored highest on political censorship. At least China doesn’t have robocalls.

Update: You can find the research at MIT’s online pub, which requires registration and is free.