The tech giant, which has been previously skittish about how employees speak about its products, decides to perform yet another act of corporate overbearing on an employee of six years
A recent TikTok video where an Apple employee shared phone security advice with her audience has resulted in termination threats from the massive $2.6k billion tech giant.
New York resident Paris Campbell, who works as a repair technician for Apple and performs stand-up comedy, recently came across a video on TikTok, where she has half a million followers. In it, she saw another user share about her iPhone being stolen during the recent Coachella festival — a common occurrence where packs of thieves used the festival’s chaos to swipe thousands of dollars in electronic goods and personal items from inebriated festivalgoers.
The TikTok user said that she received email messages from the thief who had “jailbroken” into her phone and threatened to sell her personal data on the black market unless she removed the iPhone from her Apple ID.
Campbell, who has worked with Apple for close to six years, decided to use her knowledge to help out the user and other iPhone owners.
“I can’t tell you exactly how I know this information, but I can tell you that for the last six years, I’ve been a certified hardware engineer for a certain company that likes to talk about fruit,” Campbell said in her recorded response. “Your phone is actually useless to [the thief], and you’re the only person that can save them, and I suggest that you don’t.”
Here, Campbell refers to one of Apple’s key security features with the iPhone, which locks each iPhone to an associated Apple ID during initial sign-ins. This means that even if a thief gets their hands on the hardware and erases all its information, they will still need to log in through the original Apple ID to gain access.
Pretty helpful to know, and certainly common knowledge that Apple makes quite public. So, where did things go wrong?
In a subsequent video titled “Dear Apple,” Campbell claimed on Saturday that Apple reps reached out to her and informed her that her job security was in jeopardy because of her post. This is particularly strange, considering that Apple’s own social media policy is clearly employee-friendly and somewhat open-ended, at least in print:
“We want you to be yourself, but you should also be respectful in posts, tweets, and other online communications,” read internal documents sourced by The Verge.
Speaking to Fortune, Campbell addressed the issue and made her case as to why Apple’s response seemed unfair.
“I’ve never actually identified myself as an Apple employee until this video,” she said. “Funny thing is, though, after reviewing the social media policies… nowhere does it say I can’t identify myself as an Apple employee publicly, just that I shouldn’t do so in a way that makes the company look bad.”
“In this video, nothing that I said was not already public-facing knowledge. I breached no form of confidentiality whatsoever,” she concluded.
While Apple is yet to comment on the incident, the internet quickly lapped up the story, debating the nature of Campbell’s case and whether or not Apple was rightful in threatening to fire her. One user started off by blaming The Verge, which broke the initial story:
Other users highlighted Apple’s tendency to be overbearing regarding their public image — ironic considering their threats against Campbell have largely worked against the company:
Others felt that Campbell’s actions were irresponsible and that she should have ‘read the fine print’:
It’s interesting to note that there’s perhaps some merit to @iamrishio’s criticism of The Verge, which largely sidestepped the fact that the thief was attempting to access the stolen iPhone from China. Apple has had years of bad press related to the country — from compromising on security encryption as per Chinese state mandates, to continually flouting the many ‘internet freedom’ and ‘pro-privacy’ stances they have touted elsewhere in the world, along with recent product launches.
Campbell’s video gets uncomfortably close to these truths, and perhaps that’s why Apple has decided to bring down the hammer on a pretty loyal employee.
“I find Apple’s response to be directly in contrast to how we portray ourselves as a company in terms of telling people to think differently, innovate, and come up with creative solutions,” she says in an interview with The Verge.
“I don’t just have all this Apple knowledge because I work for Apple. I come to this knowledge because I have a long technical education and history. That’s why they hired me.”
Lead Image: Unsplash/Laurenz Heymann