Blockchain-based file-sharing and payment network LBRY has alleged that tech giant Apple forced it to filter out certain search terms during the COVID-19 crisis in an apparent rejection of free speech.
In a Nov. 28 post on Twitter, LBRY alleges it was asked to censor anything related to COVID-19, especially vaccines and the human origins of the virus, or face having its apps removed from the Apple store.
“We had to build a list of over 20 terms to not show results for, only on Apple devices. If we did not filter the terms, our apps would not be allowed in the store,” the crypto company alleged.
LBRY is a decentralized content-sharing platform that allows artists, filmmakers, writers and other content creators to retain full artistic and financial control over their work. Its Odysee video-sharing website is one of its best-known apps, but it’s unclear if this app was involved in the alleged censorship.
The blockchain firm made the revelation in a response to a post from Elon Musk, who said that Apple has “mostly stopped” advertising on Twitter due to concerns about the social media platforms’ content, prompting LBRY to share its experience with Apple during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During Covid, Apple demanded our apps filter some search terms from being returned. If we did not filter the terms, our apps would not be allowed in the store.
Apple may make good products, but they have been opposed to free speech for some time.
— LBRY (@LBRYcom) November 28, 2022
LBRY also alleges when some of its users included images of “Pepe the Frog” in videos, Apple “Rejected” them.
Pepe the Frog is an Internet meme of a green anthropomorphic frog originating in 2005, which has since been adopted by protest groups in Hong Kong and used in political-based ideology.
The crypto company said that “Apple may make good products, but they have been opposed to free speech for some time.”
Cointelegraph reached out to Apple for comment but has not received a reply by the time of publication.
Related: Crypto Twitter unhappy with SBF ‘puff piece’ pushed by mainstream media
Meanwhile, discussions around censorship on Twitter have continued to rage on.
Musk took over Twitter on Oct. 28 and has been teasing the release of the “Twitter Files”, supposed proof of a concentrated effort by the previous Twitter administration to stifle free speech on the platform.
The Twitter Files on free speech suppression soon to be published on Twitter itself. The public deserves to know what really happened …
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 28, 2022
Musk’s takeover of Twitter and subsequent plans for the platform have seen some users seek out decentralized social networks as an alternative.
Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey recently unveiled a new Bitcoin-powered Bluesky Social app as part of a decentralized answer to Twitter.
The Oct. 18 announcement came roughly three years after the initiative was announced by Dorsey, with the goal of allowing users should to have control over their data and be able to move it from platform to platform without permission.