Posts tagged Foxconn

Apple Bans a Game for Change

Bejamin Poynter's newest creation, In a Permanent Save State (video above), was just banned from the Apple Store for objectionable content.

The Verge reports:

Apple has banned a politically charged iPhone game that tackles human rights issues associated with mass-produced electronics.

Benjamin Poynter's In A Permanent Save State is a surreal and visually striking interactive narrative that the creator says imagines the spiritual afterlife of seven overworked laborers who have committed suicide, alluding to real-life events at Foxconn’s electronics manufacturing plants in 2010. But the game was quietly removed from the App Store less than an hour after it went live earlier today.

It’s unclear which part of Apple’s guidelines the company claims the game violated, but sources familiar with Apple’s review process have pointed us to app guidelines against “objectionable content,” (16.1) and depictions which “solely target a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity” (15.3) as the most likely culprits.

It’s not the first time Apple has banned an app that deals with the murky side of production. Phone Story, which was a source of inspiration for Poynter, faced a similar fate

What this highlights yet again, is Apple’s control over the app market. Google, thankfully, doesn’t control its store in the same manner and the Android version of Poynter’s game will be out November 12.

When it comes to customers, Apple is a bold innovator that leads the industry into new directions and forces others to follow. However, when it comes to the management of its supply chain and treatment of workers in the Chinese factories that make its products, it hides behind the constraints of prevailing industry practices. What is even more disconcerting is the fact that these practices are in violation of not only local and national laws, but also of Apple’s own voluntary self-imposed code of conduct. It is important to note that this voluntary code of conduct breaks no new ground. It is at best a modest attempt to ensure that workers will be treated fairly and provided with a safe work environment.

S. Prakash Sethi, Professor, Baruch College, and President, International Center for Corporate Accountability. Carnagie Council, Two Faces of Apple

Sethi writes that the Apple brand is divided with its hyperfocus on the finished product but lazy glance factory conditions.

iPhones, iPads, iMacs and Powerbooks are innovative works of wonder. Operations at suppliers like Foxconn? Lowest common denominator.

Sethi challenges Apple CEO Tim Cook to change the company’s split culture.

"This would call for Apple to play a leadership role and thereby solidify its reputation not only as a leading corporate innovator, but also as a leading socially responsible corporate citizen," he writes.

"One hopes that Apple will once again astonish the world by showing a new approach to building better bridges between private profit and public good."

An important read as the business press hypes a potential trillion dollar valuation for Apple.

When Retractions go Viral

While not as often as we’d like, news organizations often issue general factual corrections — and occasional outright retractions — to the stories they produce.

The problem, few actually see them and the original error is passed about the online wilds.

Not so with Mike Daisey’s This American Life investigation of electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn. Nieman Lab reports that the TAL episode dedicated to retracting the story is its most popular yet with with over 891,000 downloads and streams of the podcast since the story first aired.

The original Foxconn podcast had 888,000 downloads and streams in a similar timeframe. Since that time and additional 206,000 have listened to it.

Goes to show that biggie errors deserve a biggie response. In this American American Life’s case they dedicated a whole show to their errors. Something to learn from as most outlets bury their mistakes where few actually find them.

Nieman Lab, This American Life’s retraction of the Mike Daisey story set an online listening record.

1,019 plays

Download this track

drewvigal:

jayrosen:

All of this becomes clear in Retraction, which is an extraordinary display of transparency in corrective journalism.

Agreed. Definitely worth a listen.

FJP: Important as can be. Ira Glass and This American Life retraction of its Mike Daisey Apple/Foxconn episode.

Should be listened to but if you want to read the transcript, it’s available here.

This American Life Retraction Transcript for Daisey Foxconn Episode

Via Ira Glass, This American Life:

I should say, I am not happy to have to come to you and tell you that something that we presented on the radio as factual is not factual. All of us in public radio stand together and I have friends and colleagues on lots of other shows who – like us here at This American Life – work hard to do accurate, independent reporting week in, week out. I and my coworkers on This American Life are not happy to have done anything to hurt the reputation of the journalism that happens on this radio station every day. So we want to be completely transparent about what we got wrong, and what we now believe is the truth.

And let’s just get to it.

The transcript walks us through Mike Daisey’s trip to China to investigate labor conditions at Foxconn, and leads to an interview between Marketplace’s Rob Schmitz, Ira Glass and Daisey himself.

When Mike Daisey lied to national radio audiences on This American Life, lied to the 888,000 people who downloaded the podcast (the most in the show’s history), and lied to who-knows-how-many theater audiences over two years of performing his one-man show The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, he wasn’t wrong about the Chinese labor abuses that go into making iPads and other beloved American gadgets. He wasn’t wrong that Chinese workers are often subjected to horrific conditions, wasn’t wrong that Apple’s supervision of its contractor’s factories has been problematic, and wasn’t wrong that we American consumers bear an indirect but troubling moral responsibility for these abuses.

Most importantly, Mike Daisey wasn’t wrong that it is possible for Chinese authorities and Apple to substantially improve labor conditions — without making their products any more expensive or less competitive — and that American consumers can help make this happen. But he was wrong that embellishing his story would help, that bad behavior in service of a good cause ever does.
Foxconn Employees Threaten Mass Suicide
Foxconn, the world’s largest electronic component maker (think: Apple, Amazon, Nintendo, Dell, Panasonic… well, you get the point) is not a nice place to work. So rampant have the suicides been that last year the company made workers sign pledges not to kill themselves.
Via The Atlantic Wire:

As American consumers ogle over shiny new gadgets at this week’s Consumer Electronic’s Show, the workers that make those products are threatening mass suicide for the horrid working conditions at Foxconn. 300 employees who worked making the Xbox 360 stood at the edge of the factory building, about to jump, after their boss reneged on promised compensation, reports English news site Want China Times.  It’s not like this is the first time working conditions at Foxconn have made news outside China. But iPhone and Xbox sales surely haven’t lagged in the wake of those revelations and neither Apple nor Microsoft has done much of anything to fix things. 

As The Atlantic Wire points out, this week’s This American Life features a trip to a Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China where approximately 350,000 to 450,000 people are employed.
You can listen to the episode here.
Image: Workers at Foxconn via China Southern Weekly
Update: March 2012, Public Radio International and This American Life are running a retraction on their Foxcomm reporting. Information about that is here.

Foxconn Employees Threaten Mass Suicide

Foxconn, the world’s largest electronic component maker (think: Apple, Amazon, Nintendo, Dell, Panasonic… well, you get the point) is not a nice place to work. So rampant have the suicides been that last year the company made workers sign pledges not to kill themselves.

Via The Atlantic Wire:

As American consumers ogle over shiny new gadgets at this week’s Consumer Electronic’s Show, the workers that make those products are threatening mass suicide for the horrid working conditions at Foxconn. 300 employees who worked making the Xbox 360 stood at the edge of the factory building, about to jump, after their boss reneged on promised compensation, reports English news site Want China Times.  It’s not like this is the first time working conditions at Foxconn have made news outside China. But iPhone and Xbox sales surely haven’t lagged in the wake of those revelations and neither Apple nor Microsoft has done much of anything to fix things. 

As The Atlantic Wire points out, this week’s This American Life features a trip to a Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China where approximately 350,000 to 450,000 people are employed.

You can listen to the episode here.

Image: Workers at Foxconn via China Southern Weekly

Update: March 2012, Public Radio International and This American Life are running a retraction on their Foxcomm reporting. Information about that is here.

You, Yes You, Aren't Allowed to Kill Yourself

Via the Daily Mail

Factories making sought-after Apple iPads and iPhones in China are forcing staff to sign pledges not to commit suicide, an investigation has revealed.

At least 14 workers at Foxconn factories in China have killed themselves in the last 16 months as a result of horrendous working conditions.

Many more are believed to have either survived attempts or been stopped before trying at the Apple supplier’s plants in Chengdu or Shenzen.

After a spate of suicides last year, managers at the factories ordered new staff to sign pledges that they would not attempt to kill themselves, according to researchers.