On Fox News Channel’s “The Story”, White House NSC Coordinator John Kirby responded to Apple’s decision to limit the AirDrop file-sharing feature in China by saying that the White House is just not “in the business of telling private firms how to execute their initiatives.” And the issue with Apple differs from the problem with Twitter, which the White House has vowed to monitor.
“Look, in general, and we have been clear about this all across the world, we want individual citizens, regardless of government, to be able to communicate freely and honestly, transparently, and dependably,” Kirby said. ” And we’ve made that plain with regard to Iran, and we’ll continue to make it clear with regard to China. Apple is a private firm, Martha, and they must make judgments and speak for those decisions. But here in the administration, we want to make sure that individual citizens can speak freely and honestly, whether they are protesting or not, but in this situation, I know that is the context we’re talking about.”
“But why not say anything to Apple?” host Martha MacCallum followed up. “Because we recently learned that the White House is keeping a close eye on Twitter and Elon Musk. So, why would you say that from the podium…and still not call Apple out for assisting the Chinese government in suppressing the capacity of their own people to communicate?”
“Again, I believe we’ve been pretty clear and consistent on this,” Kirby answered. “Certainly, we’ve been extremely upfront publicly about our desire to have folks communicate. And, if Apple is making a decision, they should be obligated to talk about it. But we aren’t — we can’t and don’t want to instruct private firms how to carry out their efforts.”
“Yeah, but Twitter is also a private firm,” MacCallum interjected. “So, my point is, why is Twitter receiving one treatment and Apple is getting another?”
“Well, they are very different conditions,” Kirby said. “You’re discussing the possibility of foreign investment and engagement in Twitter management. That’s a different problem than what we’re discussing here, which is an Apple business choice on how one of their programs is used.”