Apple CEO Tim Cook didn’t mince words when he took to the stage to accept the Anti-Defamation League’s first Courage Against Hate Award at an event in New York City today. The executive used the keynote to address a wide range of issues, from anti-Semitism to LGBTQ rights — in many cases framing them in the context of corporate responsibility.
“I sometimes say that I worry less about computers that think like people and more about people that think like computers—without values or compassion, without concern for consequences,” Cook said, in a copy of the remarks provided to TechCrunch.
He also used the platform to address the company’s longstanding stance against providing a platform for hate — a hot-button issue as social networks have attempted to address the online proliferation of hate speech and conspiracy theories.
From the speech:
From the earliest days of iTunes, to Apple Music today, we have always prohibited music with a message of white supremacy. Why… Because it’s the right thing to do. And as we showed this year, we won’t give a platform to violent conspiracy theorists on the App Store. Why… Because it’s the right thing to do. My friends, if we can’t be clear on moral questions like these, then we’ve got big problems. At Apple, we are not afraid to say that our values drive our curation decisions. And why should we be? Doing what’s right — creating experiences free from violence and hate, experiences that empower creativity and new ideas — is what our customers want us to do. Technology should be about human potential. It should be about optimism. And we believe the future should belong to those who use technology to build a better, more inclusive and more hopeful world.
There are no easy answers, as the last several years have proven. But Apple’s certainly taken a much stronger approach around issues of hate speech than many fellow tech giants.