Apple Inc., iOS App Store
Date of Action: March 2013
Region: North America
Location: iOS App Store
Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion
Confronting Bodies: Apple Inc.
Description of Artwork: ‘Sweatshop’ is an animated app that allows players to run a sweatshop. The game begins with a video clip showing a billboard advertising a pair of shoes, and then shows consumers eagerly awaiting the shoes arrival in stores. The video then follows how the shoes made it the 1st world country; eventually arriving at a sweatshop located an ocean away. The ‘game’ then begins, where players are put in control of the sweatshop manager’s actions. Players are able to control the working conditions at their sweatshop, and can choose whether or not to hire children, increase the speed of production, increase working hours, and block fire escapes. Players are scored by how many items they successful complete, how quickly these items were made, and how much profit was made. Players are also rewarded for being a ‘good’ boss and/or an ‘evil’ boss.
The Incident: Apple removed the app from its iOS App store in March 2013 citing that the app was ‘unsuitable for sale’ and ‘offensive’, and that Apple was uncomfortable selling a game designed around working in a sweatshop. Apple’s guidelines for app developers states, “We will reject Apps for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line. What line, you ask? Well, as a Supreme Court Justice once said, “I’ll know it when I see it”, and we think that you will also know it when you cross it.” Apple said it found particular offence to the ability of players to block fire escapes, increase working hours for labor, and use of child labor. The game’s creators have said ‘Sweatshop’ is supposed to be an educational work of fiction, created to expose the conditions of sweatshops, and the issue of viewing workers as units of labor, rather than as human beings.
Results of Incident: The app is no longer available on the iOS App store, but is currently available for free on the internet.
• http://www.cultofmac.com/58590/heres-the-full-text-of-apples-new-app-store-guidelines/ http://www.salon.com/2013/03/22/apple_kills_a_sweatshop_app/ http://www.pocketgamer.co.uk/r/iPad/Sweatshop+HD/news.asp?c=49468&