It used to be that if you loved—or hated—an Apple product, you could leave a review and rating on the company’s online store to gush, vent, and rave for the world to see. Not anymore. It appears that Apple has deleted and disabled customer reviews and ratings over the weekend from its U.S., UK, and Australian stores.
The news was first spotted by AppleInsider. It’s true that, right now, if you look at product pages online you won’t find any ratings or reviews. However, you only need to take a peek at the WayBack Machine to find that they did seemingly vanish overnight sometime between the evening of November 16 and the next morning. Take this Apple Pencil product page from the 16th—the reviews are still there. But if you take a look at the same page from the 17th, that section is completely gone.
It’s highly unlikely that the disappearance is a site glitch—especially not as the homepage is currently telling you to “Make someone’s holiday” by shopping for Apple gifts. What’s more likely here is that Apple isn’t keen on negative reviews embedded in the “Buy” sections of its products turning away potential customers during the holiday season. Gizmodo reached out to Apple for comment but didn’t immediately receive a response.
It’s hard to tell if this is a policy that will be rolled out across all of Apple’s offerings. You can still leave reviews and ratings for content in the iTunes Store, but comments and ratings were never an option with Apple TV+, including its original content. While everyone knows that you should tread user review or comment sections with caution, but it is cowardly of a company to arbitrarily shut them down without providing any reasoning. In those instances, it often looks like a company is afraid of valid criticism or feedback from a loyal user base. Just sayin’.