Apple bans game depicting Foxconn working conditions

By on September 22, 2011
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From child labor to suicides, Phone Story has it all.

A little game called Phone Story was released on the Apple App Store, remained on there for four days and was then pulled off. The reason: it depicted the poor living and working conditions of the labor force at the Foxconn factories in China, where the majority of Apple’s products are made. ”

The official reason, according to Apple, as reported by Tom’s Guide, is that Phone Story is in violation of certain rules for iOS app creation: “depictions of child abuse (code 15.2), objectionable or crude content (16.1) and promises to turn over a portion of the money to charity (21.1 and 21.2). According to the developer, 70-percent of the app revenue will pay the bills and salaries. The other 30-percent will supposedly be redirected to organizations that are fighting corporate abuses.”

Foxconn is one of the biggest electronics manufacturing firm in China, where reported working conditions have been so stressful, that since 2007, 25 people have attempted suicide by jumping off the roof of the main factory complex or dorms; 21 attempts have been successful. Since the beginning of this year, three people have committed suicide at the Foxconn complex.

According to Phone Story’s developer, the game depicts “the hidden social costs of smartphone manufacturing. Follow your phone’s journey from the Coltan mines of the Congo to the electronic waste dumps in Pakistan through four colorful mini-games. Compete with market forces in an endless spiral of technological obsolescence.”

While it’s been pulled off the App Store, Android users can still get the game through the Marketplace.


From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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