Apple says that it is going to take a “deeper look at how we handle disputed borders” after recent controversy about the Russian-annexed Crimean Peninsula.
Last week, Apple agreed to depict the disputed peninsula as belonging to Russia on Apple Maps and Apple Weather. The changes only showed when viewed inside Russia. In the backlash that ensued, Ukranian foreign minister Vadym Prystaiko said that Apple should stick to “high-tech and entertainment”.
In a statement, Apple spokesperson Trudy said:
“We review international law as well as relevant U.S. and other domestic laws before making a determination in labeling on our Maps and make changes if required by law. We are taking a deeper look at how we handle disputed borders in our services and may make changes in the future as a result.”
Apple made its decision in compliance with a request from Russian lawmakers. Apple initially offered to show Crimea as an undefined territory. It also made changes to two cities, Sevastopol and Simferopol. This was at the request of the State Duma, Russia’s lower parliament.
This is not the first time Apple has made controversial changes involving disputed territories. For instance, in China Apple has long banned the Taiwanese flag emoji. Dating back to the start of 2017, iOS banished the Taiwanese flag emoji whenever an iPhone’s location was set to China.
Apple is caught between a rock and a hard place. This is one of the challenges of doing business internationally. If it does not agree to make certain changes, it could risk being shut out of certain markets. It will therefore be interesting to know what Apple’s “deeper look” involves.
How do you think Apple should handle controversial situations such as this? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.