Copyright lawyer and Creative Commons co-founder Lawrence Lessig has accused Apple of censoring forum posts in which iPhone users experiencing wifi problems after upgrading to iOS 7 were advised to seek replacement under warranty.

I noted LouLou71’s comment had been deleted. So I reposted it — noting I had thought his comment [that Apple had deleted his earlier post] was a bit paranoid, but anyway, his information was certainly valid. Imagine if we had the same warranty rights in America that Europeans have in Europe!

But then, to my utter(ly naive) astonishment, Apple removed my comment …

LouLou71 is the username of a British iPhone owner who had posted the following:

Before I have another post removed I urge all those affected with wifi issues to exercise your rights as I have done as published on apples vet own website.

There are far too many of us affected for this to be a coincidence or consumer caused problem, I had a 16gb white 4s purchased in July 2013 and wifi was completely greyed out no matter what fixes I was advised to try.

I have been successful in my claim and am now in receipt of a brand new iPhone 5, this was provided to me by the phone shop I signed my O2 contract with last year.

Good luck and persevere

Lessig reposted it, and says his post was also removed by Apple, and that the company emailed him to say it had done so “because these posts are not allowed on our forums.”

Lessig was Aaron Swartz’s lawyer, the Reddit partner arrested on fraud charges after making available academic journals downloaded from the JSTOR digital library. Although Swartz had legitimate access to the library, it was alleged that he broke the law in making them freely available online. Swartz committed suicide two days after a plea deal request was denied.

We have asked Apple for a comment and will update if we get a response.

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7 Responses to “Creative Commons co-founder accuses Apple of censoring support forum posts”

  1. todd says:

    Censorship is done by government. Apple is a private company and can moderate their boards any way they like. Only governments can “censor” you. Mr. Lessig is an intelligent person, he should know this.


    • Came here to say the same thing. I used to be a “Helper” on the Support Forums and people would always bring out the censorship card. It’s their forum and they can do with it as they see fit.


    • Hmm, censoring can definitely done by anyone with the power to prevent your speech from being seen or heard, not just governments, whose censorship has the most severe and widespread ramifications. Now, if he said that what Apple was doing was a “violation of the first amendment”, then yea, for sure, you would be correct as that can (usually) only be done by the US government. As mentioned by crawdad, it is indeed their forum and they can do pretty much what they want, for better or worse. The argument isn’t that their forum moderation by removal of these posts was illegal, just wrong and unacceptable. I gotta agree in this particular case. Pointing out a flaw in a product (that I as a consumer paid for) and seeking, well, support shouldn’t be condemned as a violation of a nebulous terms of agreement for a support forum, which is, after all, the primary purpose of a support forum.


  2. That’s lame logic. If the people do not have free speech amongst themselves, then what difference does it make if we have it to criticize the government or not? This same logic has prevented free speech almost everywhere, since anything not a government installation is, by definition, a private installation.

    You have set a low bar for personal responsibility, and a high bar for corporate arrogance. Rights are universal, and not dependent upon where you are at any particular moment. This speech did not violate anything except Apple’s paranoia (to be clear, and employee’s interpretation of their responsibility). It was about the companies product, a problem with their product, and their warranty on their product. To delete the post makes absolutely no sense, especially when the framework is designed to allow users to help one another.

    Stop drinking your fascist kool-aid that the owner can’t be wrong and is not bound by laws of decency and commonsense, and think.


  3. Not news, Apple has done this for years. But glad to see Mr. Lessig taking up the charge. It is something that Apple needs to stop doing, being their property or not. The company that produced the ‘1984’ commercial has no leeway in attempting to shut down conversation about potentially embarrassing design defects.
    [As an aside, the stupidity of the first two commenters is astounding. Perhaps their dictionary and civics classes were censored by morons, I dunno. Maybe they just weren’t paying attention in class. Apple is absolutely “censoring” by the definition of the term; the propriety of their doing so, however, is absolutely up for debate. Again, I refer back to the fact that this same company is built upon a foundation that includes a commercial statement evoking George Orwell representing themselves as the FREEDOM fighter. See also: hypocrisy.]


  4. Jim Phong says:

    He bought a 4s in July 2013 and he went babbling nonsense on the Apple support forum instead of going into an Apple Store or calling Apple directly ? Of course Apple censored his nonsense on the forums.
    He clearly did that on purpose in an attempt to bash Apple and nothing else. The 4s surely was still under warranty and with AppleCare+ he could have got another 2 years warranty and more.
    So why posting complaints like that on the Apple support forum? No normal person would do that.


  5. I’m from Canada and my Iphone 16g has the greyed out WiFi from IOS 6.3. I Called customer support and they told me i had to send in my phone for a $200 dollar refurbished iphone 4. This phone would be forced to update to the lasted update giving me a ticking time bomb until that WiFi and Bluetooth crap out again. I then explained this to the rep and to her manager until they told me there is nothing they can do and that were sorry. I’m Canadian but freaking sorry really. Regardless the front and back camera has stopped opening and the WiFi and Bluetooth along with it. I’m just disappointed with the company as a whole.

    I mean breaking phones so that people who are off warranty need to buy new phones around the time they announce a buy back program and the new iPhone and the cheap version. Sounds like a good way to move everyone up a generation of phone without asking, haha but that just my crazy thinking’s.