A massive Apple boycott has driven Apple Inc. (AAPL) stock plummeting, from $139.78 to $105.23 USD in the past week. This has led to a loss of nearly $180 million USD in valuation for the company.
The boycott was spurred by a video that widely proliferated across the Internet. This video portrays a 7-year-old boy from the Democratic Republic of the Congo mining cobalt for use in smartphone batteries.
The video was initially shared through Facebook by members of the Slacktivist Civil Liberties Union (SCLU). “I was doing some research for a Global Economics class, and when I stumbled upon this awful video, I knew that the only way I could truly make a difference was to share it on Facebook,” said Sara Draper, a student at Wesleyan University and founder of the SCLU.
This boycott comes shortly after the SCLU’s recent success in convincing Marshal Kim Jong-un to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear program through a successful Twitter campaign. “We’ve handled Trump, North Korea, and the subjugation of Native Americans, so I was left wondering what the slacktivist movement’s next move was. When I saw this video, I knew what we had to do immediately. The SCLU decided to uproot the exploitative nature of globalization and force fair pay and safe working conditions for workers everywhere,” explained Sara during a Skype call from her dorm room.
Jonah Richter, a close friend of Sara’s and a founding member of the SCLU, described their approach to ending globalization via email: “Ever since Trump conceded the election as a result of one of our campaigns, our membership base has grown to include a majority of university student within the United States. With this membership comes a lot of power to influence virtually any industry we want. Sara’s goal when we initiated this campaign was to share at least one photo of a sad African child for every cute photo of an animal or a family gathering posted on Facebook and Twitter. This had the added benefit of putting pressure on the big social media companies. After much deliberation we decided that starting an Apple boycott would be the most immediately actionable protest possible because so many of our members are already iPhone users.”
Further threats of boycott have been mounted against many major hardware such as Samsung, Huawei, and Google. Widespread fear throughout the tech industry has led many of the world’s largest companies to band together in appeals to the UN and local governments to intervene and enforce labor laws. Early talks with the UN seem to suggest that this may be another win for the SCLU.