As long as there has been an App Store, Apple has practiced strong discretion over which apps it approves and which it doesn’t allow on the iPhone and iPad. This has sometimes meant controversy for Apple, as its judgement is called into question when apps that were once approved are sometimes pulled for questionable reasons. Metadata+, an app that sends iPhone users alerts when a US drone strike leads to death, is the latest casualty, The Guardian reports…
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The Intercept editor Josh Begley launched the app last year to highlight the United States’ use of armed drones for airstrikes overseas using data from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
According to Begley, Apple offered this explanation for pulling Metadata+ from the App Store: “Your app contains content that many users would find objectionable.”
In a politically high pressure climate, Apple similarly removed apps and games that used Confederate Flags in icons earlier this year, asking developers to change their artwork before re-submitting them to the App Store.
The whole function of Begley’s app is what’s being challenged here, however, so a simple fix is unlikely unless Apple changes its position. Speaking at Box’s enterprise conference just yesterday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said businesses have a responsibility to voice policy positions as Apple has done in the past when governments move too slow.