APPLE INC. | Report on Ensuring Respect for Civil Liberties at APPLE INC.

1.83% votes in favour
AGM date
Previous AGM date
Proposal number
Resolution details
Company ticker
Lead filer
Resolution ask
Report on or disclose
ESG theme
  • Social
ESG sub-theme
  • Diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI)
  • Human rights
Type of vote
Shareholder proposal
Filer type
Company sector
Company HQ country
United States
Resolved clause
Resolved: Shareholders request the Board of Directors conduct an investigation and issue a report within the next 12 months, at reasonable cost and excluding proprietary information and disclosure of anything that would constitute an admission of pending litigation, evaluating the standards and procedures Apple Inc. (“Apple” or “the Company”) uses to curate app content on its various platforms, and procedures by which the Company manages disputes between government interests and user rights.
Supporting statement
Supporting Statement:

Given their facilitatory role in securing access to online services, the actions of major tech companies can significantly affect the businesses using their platforms and ignite concerns over limiting access to that content. Given their role in the online age, tech companies have a responsibility to use their influence to protect such inherent human rights as “freedom of thought, conscience, and religion,” particularly for underprivileged and marginalized populations.

As shareholders of Apple Inc., we believe Apple is uniquely situated to help protect these rights and ought to commit to maintaining access to app services as a necessary consequence of its commitment to human rights. We are therefore greatly concerned at recent reports of Apple arbitrarily limiting content access within its online services, as detailed below. This censorship endangers Apple’s trust with its users and jeopardizes Apple’s stated commitments to human rights and providing quality products. Shareholders must know that Apple will meaningfully commit to protecting reliable app access as a crucial aspect of both good social policy and respecting its users’ civil liberties.

Apple has defended the connection between human rights and technological access in its Commitment to Human Rights (1), further asserting its primary emphasis on maintaining users’ “access to reliable information and helpful technology.” Yet, recent actions call the veracity of such commitments into question.

Apple has been characterized by the 1792 Exchange as “leverag[ing] its corporate reputation and funds to support... groups hostile to freedom of expression,” most recently the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Reporting indicates Apple’s removal of popular Quran (2) (Quran Majeed) and Bible (3) (Olive Tree) reading apps from its App Store in China, at the request of authorities within the CCP. Furthermore, as detailed in the 2022 edition of the Viewpoint Diversity Index (4), Apple does not provide a clear standard as to what apps are and not allowed on its platforms, indicating a concerning absence of protocol to determine what content is permissible (5), further amplified by recent concerns over Apple’s threat to remove Twitter (X) from its App Store (6), a seemingly political swipe that conservative lawmakers have characterized as a “raw exercise of monopolistic power.” (7) These actions conflict with Apple’s stated Commitment to Human Rights and the interest of millions of Apple’s users in reliably accessing content. Furthermore, the perception that Apple does not respect the civil liberties of its users and vendors creates significant reputational risk and risk of political backlash, threatening shareholder value.

How other organisations have declared their voting intentions

Organisation name Declared voting intentions Rationale
Anima Sgr Against As Apple appears to have enhanced its disclosure around its management of government information requests and now provides sufficient information for shareholders to evaluate its performance.
Kutxabank Gestion SGIIC SAU. Against

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