On Monday night, Apple CEO Tim Cook accepted the “Courage Against Hate” award from the Anti-Defamation League in New York City. Telling the audience that Apple is proud of exercising effective censorship of views it believes are objectionable, the tech leader said that the failure of social media platforms to kick off certain persons amounts to a “sin.” He said, “At Apple, we’re not afraid to say our values drive our curation decisions,” and added, “And why should we be?”

“We only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division, and violence: You have no place on our platforms,” Cook said. “You have no home here.”

“I believe the most sacred thing each of us is given is our judgement, our morality, our own innate desire to separate right from wrong,” Cook said. “Choosing to set that responsibility aside at a moment of trial is a sin.”

“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. This was the first time the ADL has given its  “Courage Against Hate” award, which will be given each year to a business leader who champions equality.

"If we can't be clear on moral questions like these then we've got big problems,” Cook said. “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.”

This year, Apple removed podcasts by Trump-ally and controversialist Alex Jones from its  iTunes and podcast apps. In turn, Facebook, Google, Spotify, and Twitter decided to de-platform Jones. Later, Apple then removed Jones’ Infowars app from its iTunes store. The relationship between Silicon Valley tech giants with free speech has been the focus of Congressional hearings. Referring to Jones, Cook said on Monday, “As we showed this year, we won’t give a platform to violent conspiracy theorists on the App Store.” He added, “We believe the future should belong to those who use technology to build a better, more inclusive and more hopeful world.”

"If we can't be clear on moral questions like these then we've got big problems,” Cook said about tackling hate. “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.”

Cook was the first Fortune 500 executive to come out as gay. He is a baptized evangelical Christian.
 

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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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