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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."