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Oh My: Apple Bans Foxconn iPhone App

By - Source: ColorLines | B 44 comments

Apple has banned a game that depicts the working conditions and suicides related to Foxconn.

It should come as no surprise that Apple's tight approval process allowed a game depicting Foxconn working conditions and the increasing number of suicides to appear on the App Store for just four days. What is surprising is that the app actually went live on Apple's platform in the first place, thus proving that -- as we've seen time and time again -- the approval process isn't exactly perfect.

According to the product description, Phone Story is a game for iOS and Android-based devices that "attempts to provoke a critical reflection on its own technological platform. Under the shiny surface of our electronic gadgets, behind its polished interface, hides the product of a troubling supply chain that stretches across the globe. Phone Story represents this process with four educational games (Coltan, Suicides, Obsolescence and eWaste) that make the player symbolically complicit in coltan extraction in Congo, outsourced labor in China, e-waste in Pakistan and gadget consumerism in the West."

Apple claims that the app was pulled because it violated four rules for iOS app creation: depictions of child abuse (code 15.2), objectionable or crude content (16.1) and promises to turn over a portion of the money to charity (21.1 and 21.2). According to the developer, 70-percent of the app revenue will pay the bills and salaries. The other 30-percent will supposedly be redirected to organizations that are fighting corporate abuses. Festivals and art institutions that are interested in exhibiting the game are asked to contribute to the cause instead of paying artist fees.

In addition to the violations, the app probably made the iPhone and iPad developer extremely uncomfortable given that Foxconn is China's largest private employer, encompassing a labor force of around 1.2 million people that are partially responsible for building Apple's popular gadgets. Twenty-five workers have attempted suicide since 2007, twenty-one of which have died mostly by jumping off work buildings or dorm rooftops.

To reflect these numbers, players in Phone Story's "Suicides" mini-game take the role of a net-bearing medical staff employee who is attempting to catch workers as they throw themselves off the roof. This mirrors Foxconn's real-world attempt to catch suicide jumpers by installing nets around the building. CEO Terry Gou has even reached out to social workers, psychologists and Buddhist monks to help curb the number of deaths. There were fourteen successful attempts in 2010 alone, and so far three have managed to leap to their death in 2011.

Interested consumers who missed the iOS app when it was briefly available on Apple's App Store can download the Android version here via the Android Market. The app is actually difficult to find in the actual Market, but can be located by searching for the developer, "Molleindustria" instead of the app's title.

Phone Story

*Hat tip goes to user Pyree. Thanks!

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Top Comments
  • 26 Hide
    tburns1 , September 21, 2011 8:18 PM
    It's amazing how hypocritical Apple can be. Why does is matter in cyberspace, but it doesn't matter in real life?
  • 21 Hide
    sgtopmobile , September 21, 2011 8:29 PM
    hahahahahahahahahaha i can still download it from installous and totally FREE, JAILBREAK RULES!
  • 18 Hide
    legacy7955 , September 21, 2011 8:28 PM
    Yeah I noticed how the article here mentioned that Foxconn started to take action BUT I HEARD NOTHING MENTIONED ABOUT APPLE MAKING SOME EFFORT TO REMEDIATE WORKERS ISSUES.

    Apple doesn't own the factory BUT the stuff that comes out of it has Apples name on it so I think if they are a responsible corporate citizen they need to get involved at the plant level and do something to solve the problems too.
Other Comments
    Display all 44 comments.
  • -7 Hide
    legacy7955 , September 21, 2011 8:17 PM
    I Despise Apple, but this is just SiCK.

    A new low for humanity!

  • 26 Hide
    tburns1 , September 21, 2011 8:18 PM
    It's amazing how hypocritical Apple can be. Why does is matter in cyberspace, but it doesn't matter in real life?
  • 18 Hide
    legacy7955 , September 21, 2011 8:28 PM
    Yeah I noticed how the article here mentioned that Foxconn started to take action BUT I HEARD NOTHING MENTIONED ABOUT APPLE MAKING SOME EFFORT TO REMEDIATE WORKERS ISSUES.

    Apple doesn't own the factory BUT the stuff that comes out of it has Apples name on it so I think if they are a responsible corporate citizen they need to get involved at the plant level and do something to solve the problems too.
  • 21 Hide
    sgtopmobile , September 21, 2011 8:29 PM
    hahahahahahahahahaha i can still download it from installous and totally FREE, JAILBREAK RULES!
  • 2 Hide
    ricin , September 21, 2011 8:34 PM
    Commie hypocrites.
  • 10 Hide
    tychoblu , September 21, 2011 8:38 PM
    App prolly got pulled because it would not pay the Apple Gestapo rate of 20%
  • 9 Hide
    captaincharisma , September 21, 2011 8:43 PM
    wait till they make it for android FREE APPS WITH NO MODDING RULES!!!! LOL
  • -5 Hide
    weaselsmasher , September 21, 2011 8:47 PM
    And of course YOUR PCs and Android phones (yes, YOURS) are "more socially responsible"... have no FoxConn components... and non-Foxconn Chinese factories are better, and more closely supervised... and the manufacturers make more accurate claims than Apple...

    Oh, wait. None of the above are true.

    If there is a problem which consumers must be held responsible for, I guarantee Android and PC owners are exactly as liable as Apple owners. That means YOU, dear reader. YOU, personally, have exactly as much blood on your hands, and the anti-Apple screed is just a chain of lies and hypocrisy.
  • 6 Hide
    ikyung , September 21, 2011 8:48 PM
    unclealek2659im glad they care enough to protect us from a video game depicting graphic content and child abuse, thank the lord.

    Because people who play this game will resort to violence and abuse their children right?

    The only thing Apple is protecting is their own image. If you need protection and censorship on video games from Apple, then all I can say is iSheeeep?
  • 12 Hide
    cognoscentiable , September 21, 2011 8:49 PM
    The app really isn't that bad.. It was almost certainly removed because it puts Apple and companies like them in a bad light rather than on moral grounds.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , September 21, 2011 8:52 PM
    "im glad they care enough to protect us from a video game depicting graphic content and child abuse, thank the lord."

    I think i can protect myself, thank you. I do not need someone to choose for me what is right or not, and it's very annoying when some game, app or product gets banned from the market 'couse "they" think so.
  • 8 Hide
    bv90andy , September 21, 2011 9:04 PM
    But... if they hire the proper amount of staff, to afford normal shifts, and hire proper miners, paying them the right salary, and recycle in the right way which is probably more expensive, then a phone would cost 1000$, not 499 or so, and we won't be able to afford a new one every year!

    OH THE HUMANITY!!!
  • 5 Hide
    thebigt42 , September 21, 2011 9:10 PM
    Quote:
    encompassing a labor force of around 1.2 million people that are partially responsible for building Apple's popular gadgets. Twenty-five workers have attempted suicide since 2007


    I fail to see the relationship. I know the working conditions are/may be bad...but lets look at a city here in the US the has a population of 1.2 million and see what the suicide rate is.

    I'm not trying to justify Foxconn's business practices but unsubstantiated accusations are unacceptable.
  • 3 Hide
    stingertja , September 21, 2011 9:18 PM
    weaselsmasherAnd of course YOUR PCs and Android phones (yes, YOURS) are "more socially responsible"... have no FoxConn components... and non-Foxconn Chinese factories are better, and more closely supervised... and the manufacturers make more accurate claims than Apple...Oh, wait. None of the above are true.If there is a problem which consumers must be held responsible for, I guarantee Android and PC owners are exactly as liable as Apple owners. That means YOU, dear reader. YOU, personally, have exactly as much blood on your hands, and the anti-Apple screed is just a chain of lies and hypocrisy.


    I would say that you have a point, but there is one problem with your statement and that is Apple has the highest profit margin of any consumer electronics company in the world whether you are talking about computers or Ipod/Iphones
  • -2 Hide
    blurr91 , September 21, 2011 9:39 PM
    Foxconn pays for the livelihood of millions of Chinese families, lifting them out of poverty. That's more than any government has ever done in the history of man.
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , September 21, 2011 9:45 PM
    I did the math for the US using suicide statistics for 1.2 million people over 4 years. That is 11.2 people per year per 100000. On average 530 of them would have killed themselves over that period. So when are Foxconn getting a medal? And why do articles keep referring to this statistic. 25 suicides is not at all interesting beyond how incredibly low it is even for developed countries. Same math for China's population = 316 over 4 years. Boycotting Foxconn would just mean these people would have no jobs at all.
  • 2 Hide
    glasssplinter , September 21, 2011 9:52 PM
    weaselsmasherAnd of course YOUR PCs and Android phones (yes, YOURS) are "more socially responsible"... have no FoxConn components... and non-Foxconn Chinese factories are better, and more closely supervised... and the manufacturers make more accurate claims than Apple...Oh, wait. None of the above are true.If there is a problem which consumers must be held responsible for, I guarantee Android and PC owners are exactly as liable as Apple owners. That means YOU, dear reader. YOU, personally, have exactly as much blood on your hands, and the anti-Apple screed is just a chain of lies and hypocrisy.


    The funny thing about this is that most of the crapple buyers are the hipster type, human rights activists and eco people. Irony is a bitch dude.

    I guarantee you that pc/android people haven't generated anywhere near the demand that crapple products have. Don't quote figures that android outsells crapple because that doesn't mean anything. There are at least 3 big android manufacturers so the products are more distributed. Even when something big like the PS3 or Xbox 360 came out there weren't reports of suicides like this and those 2 items generated some pretty big demand. Face it, if you buy crapple products you're buying from a company that only cares about YOU which of course is what most of YOU crapple people like anyway.
  • -4 Hide
    glasssplinter , September 21, 2011 9:57 PM
    AfrospinachI did the math for the US using suicide statistics for 1.2 million people over 4 years. That is 11.2 people per year per 100000. On average 530 of them would have killed themselves over that period. So when are Foxconn getting a medal? And why do articles keep referring to this statistic. 25 suicides is not at all interesting beyond how incredibly low it is even for developed countries. Same math for China's population = 316 over 4 years. Boycotting Foxconn would just mean these people would have no jobs at all.


    How many of these suicides took place at their place of work though? That's the big question and why this has drawn more reporting.
  • -4 Hide
    getreal , September 21, 2011 10:01 PM
    Another day, another anti-Apple article on Tom's. Of course Apple blocked this game; it has a mini-game where you try to catch workers committing suicide. It's a tasteless (though amusing) game intended to troll and nothing else.

    I noticed you guys conveniently ignored the news (that every other site covered) about the Droid Bionic making a high-pitched noise when you use the headphone jack. If it was an Apple product with this issue, it would have been posted (and trolled) instantly.

    Would it be too much to ask for some genuine news articles? You know, something useful like Bulldozer benchmarks instead of troll-bait articles about Apple? Please?
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