An Apple employee says that Apple, a company she has worked at for over six years, is threatening to fire her over a viral TikTok video she made where she provides basic, commonsense, and publicly available tips on what to do if your iPhone is stolen.
The employee, Paris Campbell, has nearly half a million followers on TikTok, with over 17.7 million likes at the time of writing. Until a video last week, Campbell had never publicly identified herself as an Apple employee; instead, she often shared her work as a stand-up comedian and reaction videos to funny and quirky content posted on the app.
A week ago, Campbell responded to another person’s TikTok in which they explained they had their iPhone stolen and then received messages from the thieves threatening to sell their private information on the black market. The victim had tracked their iPhone with Find My and found out it was in China.
Specifically, in their messages to the victim, the thieves tried to convince them to remove the stolen iPhone from their Apple ID account to bypass Activation Lock. Doing so is strongly recommended against as that would render the device usable and benefit no one but the criminals.
In her video responding to the distressed victim, Campbell began by saying, “I can’t tell you how exactly I know this information, but I can tell you for the last six years I’ve been a certified hardware engineer for a certain company that likes to talk a lot about fruit.” Campbell goes on to strongly advise against removing the iPhone from the Apple ID and goes on to explain Activation Lock.
As a reminder, Activation Lock automatically requires users to unlock their iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple Watch after it’s been erased with their Apple ID password if it’s still connected to an account. Without the Apple ID’s password or the password used to unlock the device previously, the iPhone, in this case, is rendered entirely useless.
Campbell, in her video, provides only handy tips for the victim and reassurance that despite the thieves’ claim they have access to private information, they don’t. Campbell concludes the video by advising the victim to ignore the messages. The video has over 7.4 million views at the time of writing.
Just a few days after posting that video, Campbell posted another video explaining what had happened. She said she received a call from her manager telling her that she had breached Apple policy by publicly identifying herself as an Apple employee. Apple’s policy, however, does not limit employees from publicly identifying themselves as Apple employees but only requires them to maintain Apple’s image and reputation in their online presence.
Dozens of Apple engineers publicly identify themselves as Apple employees on Twitter, often interacting with the community and sharing their excitement about what they have been working on post-announcement.
“If you ask me, reinforcing the public’s confidence in Apple’s security is not something that makes the company look bad, especially when it reaches 5 million people,” Campbell said in her follow-up video. “If we want to get technical, I’ve never actually identified myself as an Apple employee until this video,” she continued.
Her manager told her that Apple does not pay for her to “make TikTok videos,” and Campbell agrees, saying it’s just something she enjoys doing in her spare time.”Apple, you didn’t hire me to make TikTok videos, but apparently, I’m really good at it. Talking about your products and tech in general and how people can deal with it in their everyday life is kind of the thing that I’m best at,” Campbell said.
“Maybe instead of reprimanding me, you should be looking through the comments and seeing the amount of people that are thanking me.” “I work for Apple and would very much like to stay working for Apple. For the last almost six years, I have been a stellar employee, and that’s evident by getting exceeded expectations on almost every single one of my reviews.”
“There was a time when Apple used to respect when people did things that are really wacky and out of the box. This is definitely wacky and out of the box,” Campbell concludes her video by saying. Since posting the follow-up video, Campbell’s employment status remains unknown, and she has not addressed the controversy since. We’ve reached out to Apple for comment.