Investor proposal called for enhanced reporting on App Store takedowns
Falls Church, Virginia, March 17, 2022 — Azzad Asset Management, a leading socially responsible investment firm, today praised Apple shareholders for their strong vote in favor of greater transparency at the tech company’s annual meeting this month. A shareholder resolution filed by Azzad–and supported by transparency advocate Open MIC–asked the company for more information about apps removed or censored at the request of foreign governments. It was presented at the company’s annual general meeting held on March 4.
Apple reported 3,042,933,417 votes in favor of the resolution in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing. This translates to 31.73% support for the resolution, a strong showing for a proposal filed for the first time.
The resolution was filed in response to news reports that Apple has removed apps from its App Store, sometimes proactively, to avoid harming relationships with authoritarian governments. This includes complying with requests from Russia and China, two regimes that stand accused of war crimes and genocide, respectively.
“The current tragic situation in Ukraine highlights the potential risks and dangers of corporate complicity with authoritarian governments,” said Michael Connor, Executive Director of Open MIC. “The shareholder vote sends a strong message to Apple’s board of directors: Apple should not–and cannot–censor iPhone apps that are often tools for pro-democracy organizing or freedom of information and communication.”
The resolution specifically requested that Apple’s Board of Directors revise the company’s Transparency Reports to provide clear explanations of the number and categories of removals from the App Store in response to or in anticipation of government requests.
In response to the shareholder proposal, Apple management drew attention to its current transparency reporting framework, which the proposal’s supporters have deemed insufficient.
About Azzad Asset Management
Azzad Asset Management is a socially responsible registered investment advisor committed to providing investment services designed to help people enjoy optimum performance without compromising their values. Azzad believes that companies operating in ethical lines of business offer relatively less business risk and are in a better position to thrive in the long term. The firm is based in Falls Church, Virginia.