Nightline, a U.S. news program, will air what's being billed as a special episode this evening on the ABC network. In it, Nightline Co-Anchor Bill Weir will tour Foxconn's factory floor. If you haven't heard of Foxconn, they're the company that manufactures devices such as iPad, iPhone, Kindle, PlayStation 3, Wii, and the Xbox 360.
Weir's invitation to visit "Apple's factory" in China is in part due to growing consumer pressure. Several weeks ago, This American Life, a production of Public Radio International, aired a segment of The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs by monologist Mike Daisey. In the story, Daisey, a self-described super fan of Apple, traveled to China to see where his iPhone was made.
Edited on March 20th: This American Life has retracted Mike Daisey's story. The Retraction episode is now embedded below.
After Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory aired, social activist groups such as change.org and sumofus.org then organized petitions for Apple to make an "ethical" iPhone. The groups recently delivered over 250,000 signatures to Apple's flagship store in New York.
And so now Foxconn has reached its "Nike moment" (a reference to Nike's PR troubles in the 1990's) and has invited Nightline to tour its facilities to provide more transparency. You can read a preview of the report here: A Trip to The iFactory.
Also of note, Foxconn promised a 25% raise to employees yesterday.
So, what's the lesson of the story?
Our thoughts… looks to us like social activism is superior to hacktivism.
Updated to add: Readers outside of the United States will likely see this if they attempt to view full episodes of Nightline.
However, you can listen to the full episode right now via Nightline's podcast feed.