Is iMessage to blame? Apple criticized for student bullying

Apple likes to pride itself as a social company that not only has profits but also its social responsibility in its sights. The popular news service iMessage, of all things, is now said to lead to increased bullying among schoolchildren.

WhatsApp is the measure of all things for messengers – at least in Germany. In the USA, however, the situation is different. Many teenagers use iMessage as a messaging service to communicate with family and friends. The problem: iMessage only works with Apple devices such as iPhone or Mac. Android users who write to a friend with an iPhone will receive their message as a text message and appear in iMessage as a green instead of a blue bubble. That little unequal treatment has to be one, according to the Wall Street Journal Bullying problem led to among students.

Apple is supposed to open iMessage for RCS

Google manager Hiroshi Lockheimer used the WSJ report as an opportunity to publicly shoot Apple. “Using peer pressure and bullying to sell products is insincere for a corporation that speaks of humanity and equality in its advertising”, says the 47-year-old on Twitter, who oversees Google’s Android, Chrome OS and the Google Play Store. “The standards already exist today to change that.”

What Lockheimer means: RCS. This is an open communication standard that enables different messengers to be compatible with one another. In the past, RCS has also been touted as the “reinvention of SMS”. If iMessage supported RCS, apparently the thought of the Google manager, the messages from Android users in iMessage would no longer have to be displayed as a green bubble – and the bullying would disappear.

iMessage is one of many alternatives for WhatsApp:

Apple’s ecosystem strong selling point

However, it is unlikely that Apple will open iMessage for RCS. To accuse the US group of wanting to sell products with peer pressure and bullying is a strong piece and a gross exaggeration by Lockheimer. But it is also clear: Apple’s much-cited ecosystem, in which everything works as if by magic, is a strong selling point. However, this only works because Cupertino controls everything from head to toe. Any opening, no matter how small, would be a potential disruptive factor here. Apple would be a fool to give in to the demands.