Apple employee's job threatened over viral TikTok video

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in General Discussion
A TikTok video telling people to not unlocking stolen iPhones for the thieves may lead to disciplinary action for the Apple engineer that contributed.




As a secretive company, Apple has rules and guidelines that its employees must follow, in order for the iPhone maker to closely manage its public image. It appears that the policies could result in one employee losing their job at the company, after providing safety and security advice via social media.

Apple hardware engineer Paris Campbell gained overnight fame by posting to TikTok in response to a video about a stolen iPhone, and threats to the victim over the release of personal information unless she removed the Apple ID from the device.

Campbell's video explained that the threats were minimal, as the user's data was safe and not accessible to the thief. Campbell also explained that the threats to remove the Apple ID were so that it freed the device up for immediate resale, giving it more value to the thief than if it were kept locked and broken up for parts.

The seeming public service wasn't something Apple was happy with, as Campbell claims to The Verge she received a call from a manager on Friday telling her to take the video down. If she didn't, Campbell was threatened with disciplinary action "up to and including termination."

Apple's social media policy to employees advises against discussing Apple's customers, other employees, or any confidential information. However, it doesn't completely ban the talk about publicly-known technologies.

The company's policies also reportedly prohibits employees stating that they work for Apple at all. In Campbell's original video, she states "for the last six years, I've been a certified hardware engineer for a certain company that likes to talk about fruit."

Campbell later posted a video titled "Dear Apple," outright confirming she was an Apple employee, and that she was waiting for a further response over her continued employment.



The engineer is hopeful, though, as "after reviewing the social media policies nowhere does it say I can't identify myself as an Apple employee publicly, just that I shouldn't do so in a way that makes the company look bad."

Campbell found Apple's response to be "directly in contrast to how we portray ourselves as a company in terms of telling people to think different, innovate, and come up with creative solutions."

"I don't just have all this Apple knowledge because I work for Apple," she adds. "I come to this knowledge because I have a long technical education and history. That's why they hired me."

Apple has yet to comment on the situation.

Apple's famed secrecy was a recent topic of conversation by YouTuber Mark Rober, who spoke about his time at Apple on an August 4 podcast. Rober revealed that he was approached by Apple when he had 250,000 YouTube subscribers, and was initially told he couldn't make YouTube videos anymore.

After discussions, Rober and Apple agreed to a three-month delay on videos so he could experience the culture of the company, and that he couldn't mention Apple's name nor his employment with them.

Later, when asked to appear on TV with talkshow host Jimmy Kimmel, Rober checked with Apple, but the response from Dan Riccio hinted he shouldn't proceed. Rober pressed on with the appearance regardless.

Rober reckoned that, to Apple, "there's nothing beneficial, there's no upside to them by having me be an Apple employee and having a large following." Influencers as employees with a significant following is "only downside" to Apple, as the company "doesn't need me to get their story out."

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,221member
    Cannot see the justification for termination or even a warning. 

    It's common knowledge. 
    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 2 of 18
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,391member
    The problem is that if the person help stole it can contact them directly, they clearly know who they are and possibly where they live. If this person took this Apple employee’s advice to heart and then decided to take an aggressive stance and ended up getting shot or worse, who do you think will be sued for 30 million dollars? Well, she doesn’t have it, so Apple will be the target. 
    waveparticleJWSClolliverdanoxwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 18
    Pretty dumb of her given her 100% knowledge of Apple's policies.

    The issue is breaking employment rules. It's not about punishing her for what seems to be a good deed. Every Apple employee knows the rules and they know you face a strong likelihood of being fired if you break them.
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 18
    igorskyigorsky Posts: 642member
    netrox said:
    Cannot see the justification for termination or even a warning. 

    It's common knowledge. 
    This is based on your many years of experience in labor law?
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 18
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,389member
    igorsky said:
    netrox said:
    Cannot see the justification for termination or even a warning. 

    It's common knowledge. 
    This is based on your many years of experience in labor law?
    Hey everyone is an expert on this forum! /s
    gatorguywatto_cobraFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 6 of 18
    Apple can do what they want. They can afford to make this go away. Doing this follow up video will be a nail in the coffin in my opinion. These are things that should be discussed internally with HR not in the public eye. People will judge her publicly now and all it takes is one complaint to Apple. If someone says they don’t like her that’s really all they need to let her go I would think. One complaint is now proof of making them “look bad”. 
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 18
    JP234JP234 Posts: 210member
    Employees who work for a private sector company serve at the will of the employer. That employer can terminate any employee not covered by a labor contract or union representation, at any time, for any reason, or for no reason.

    Like it or not, the employee has no recourse in this case.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 18
    JP234 said:
    Employees who work for a private sector company serve at the will of the employer. That employer can terminate any employee not covered by a labor contract or union representation, at any time, for any reason, or for no reason.

    Like it or not, the employee has no recourse in this case.
    Is this the case in California? Does she not have a contract? Would Apple really terminate her when it was clearly a case of a manager overstepping their boundaries just to cover for themselves? Employe retention has been difficult for many companies in the tech industry so it's not exactly the right time to be sacking someone just because a middle manager got spooked.
    Oferwatto_cobraFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 9 of 18
    igorsky said:
    netrox said:
    Cannot see the justification for termination or even a warning. 

    It's common knowledge. 
    This is based on your many years of experience in labor law?
    What has it got to do with labor law? She gave helpful advice to Apple’s customers and their immediate response was to threaten her employment. It isn’t an issue whether or not they can legally fire an at-will employee. I’m sure they can. The issue is why they need to be so anal about it.
    newisneverenoughmuthuk_vanalingambeowulfschmidtgrandact73
  • Reply 10 of 18
    davidwdavidw Posts: 1,646member
    igorsky said:
    netrox said:
    Cannot see the justification for termination or even a warning. 

    It's common knowledge.
    This is based on your many years of experience in labor law?
    What has it got to do with labor law? She gave helpful advice to Apple’s customers and their immediate response was to threaten her employment. It isn’t an issue whether or not they can legally fire an at-will employee. I’m sure they can. The issue is why they need to be so anal about it.
    It's not the advice that is getting her in trouble with her employer, Apple. It's that she might have misrepresented herself as representing Apple when she gave that advice. Apple is not paying her and don't want her, to represent Apple in this capacity. Even if she is an expert working for Apple, in that field. 

    I have not seen the video in question and not about to log on to TikTok or sign up for a TikTok account to do so, but if she made it seem that her advice is the same advice Apple would have made, then she is wrong to make it seem that way. She probably would have been OK to give that advice and just mention that she's a tech that knows a lot about Apple security features and this would not be a problem with Apple. But once she revealed that she was an Apple employee with expert knowledge about Apple security features, viewers might now have the misconception that she is representing Apple when she gave her (helpful) advice.

    Now if her advice was Apple documented policy, she should have cited or mentioned that and not maybe give the impression that it was, based on her being a knowledgeable  Apple employee.  

    Who knows, maybe by revealing that she's an Apple employee working in the field of security for the iPhones, she might be getting better job offers from the FBI and NSA.  That might be more of a concern for Apple, than the (helpful) advice she gave. 
    watto_cobraFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 11 of 18
    looplessloopless Posts: 262member
    Apple can terminate her for violating the terms of her employment contract, good deed or not. If she just gets a slap on the wrist, all sorts of other Apple employees will start posting. So she has to made an example of. Sucks to be her, but welcome to 'fire at will' policies.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 18
    fred1fred1 Posts: 985member
    Apple Insider is is an excellent web site with a lot of good information, so can you please correct sentences like this:
     A TikTok video telling people to not unlocking stolen iPhones for the thieves may lead to . . .”
    Writing such as this only detracts from the quality of the site. 

    Also, the use of “they” in order not to be gender-specific is understandable, but not here in the second paragraph when it’s clear that the person in question is a woman. “one employee losing their job . . .”
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 18
    genovelle said:
    The problem is that if the person help stole it can contact them directly, they clearly know who they are and possibly where they live. If this person took this Apple employee’s advice to heart and then decided to take an aggressive stance and ended up getting shot or worse, who do you think will be sued for 30 million dollars? Well, she doesn’t have it, so Apple will be the target. 
    How is it possible for Apple to be liable for the action of criminal? Even Apple outright post their own video to advise the victim not to unlock the phone. Should apple be held responsible for anything that criminal do? It is just a common sense not to corroborate with criminal. Or maybe apple should just unlock any stolen phone for thief for the common good of the victims.  This is beyond stupid. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 18
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,194member
    netrox said:
    Cannot see the justification for termination or even a warning. 

    It's common knowledge. 
    What's common knowledge? Certainly not the content of the video. If it was, she probably wouldn't have felt the need to produce the video.

    Her mistake was alluding to the fact she's an Apple employee. She didn't say she represented Apple, but those viewers who aren't very bright might jump to that conclusion. So Apple the first rule of the Apple Employee Club is don't talk about Apple.

    She could pull the video and redo it without any mention of "the fruit company <wink><wink>' and repost it, but I don't see Apple being that forgiving at this point, or they might have suggested that.

    genovelle said:
    The problem is that if the person help stole it can contact them directly, they clearly know who they are and possibly where they live. If this person took this Apple employee’s advice to heart and then decided to take an aggressive stance and ended up getting shot or worse, who do you think will be sued for 30 million dollars? Well, she doesn’t have it, so Apple will be the target. 
    Dude, what are you huffin'?? They, the criminal(s) don't clearly know who the victim is or where they live. Their threat is to release data they don't have, not that they'll come and force the theft victim to unlock the phone. And exactly how is the victim going to "get aggressive"? Campbell is telling them to ignore the email. The end.

    Apple clearly want's to be the master and spokesperson of their domain and they don't need or want a probably junior engineer doing it for them. If she wants to keep her job, she should pull that video and say no more. Well, for awhile at least. But she's now known to be a Apple employee, so any video or posts on tech may put the spotlight on her again, as an Apple employee even if she doesn't even hint it. That genie is out of the bottle.

    It's an excellent video, she's well spoken, knowledgable and concise. It would be a shame if she lost her job, but Apple probably knows they could replace her in short order.
    watto_cobraviclauyyc
  • Reply 15 of 18
    danoxdanox Posts: 1,173member
    martinxyz said:
    JP234 said:
    Employees who work for a private sector company serve at the will of the employer. That employer can terminate any employee not covered by a labor contract or union representation, at any time, for any reason, or for no reason.

    Like it or not, the employee has no recourse in this case.
    Is this the case in California? Does she not have a contract? Would Apple really terminate her when it was clearly a case of a manager overstepping their boundaries just to cover for themselves? Employe retention has been difficult for many companies in the tech industry so it's not exactly the right time to be sacking someone just because a middle manager got spooked.

    No union no protection, there is no upside for Apple for her free advice just a lawsuit down the road from a disgruntled user quoting her in a class action lawsuit…
    edited August 16 watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 18
    danoxdanox Posts: 1,173member
    martinxyz said:
    JP234 said:
    Employees who work for a private sector company serve at the will of the employer. That employer can terminate any employee not covered by a labor contract or union representation, at any time, for any reason, or for no reason.

    Like it or not, the employee has no recourse in this case.
    Is this the case in California? Does she not have a contract? Would Apple really terminate her when it was clearly a case of a manager overstepping their boundaries just to cover for themselves? Employe retention has been difficult for many companies in the tech industry so it's not exactly the right time to be sacking someone just because a middle manager got spooked.

    That contract is written by Apple for it’s benefit not the employee at will is at will, a union contract however might spell out the little things of what might happen to a worker at a company under certain conditions which is why companies and those who suck up to companies hate unions. Companies or Governments are not your friends or family.
    edited August 16
  • Reply 17 of 18
    Apple probably is concerned to be associated with TikTok, a Chinese company Because US lawmakers are in a stream of never ending hatred toward China. 
  • Reply 18 of 18
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,194member
    Apple's beef is that nobody speaks for Apple but Apple. She knew what she couldn't do, but she did it, in an effort to let viewers know that she was somebody who absolutely knew what she was talking about and not some rando influencer. And that was too much for Apple.

    Apple has every right to let her go, but I hope they don't. Or maybe she was looking for a job anyway. Apple could tell her to keep quiet about anything Apple, and make her sign an NDA not to talk about Fight Club. She could still work at Apple and let the general public think she was fired. That might suit Apple to a T.

    Anyway, she's a pretty sharp cookie, well spoken, and with great delivery, so I she stays even if she can't tell us.
    muthuk_vanalingam
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