Apple removes iOS app chronicling victims of US drone strikes

Posted:
in iPhone edited October 2015
Apple has pulled an app from the iOS App Store, Metadata+, claiming that its documentation of deaths in U.S. military drone strikes is "content that many users would find objectionable."

Image Credit: Gawker
Image Credit: Gawker


The app was created by data artist and research editor for The Intercept Josh Begley and only used maps and text to record each strike, U.K. publication The Guardian reported on Wednesday. In its rejection notice, Apple did not explain how the app might be offensive.

The company appears to have had trouble with the app since its inception though, as it was blocked five times under the name Drones+, and only accepted in early 2014 once its name switched. It's not clear, though, why Apple would suddenly reject it again after leaving it on the store for over a year. Another Begley app that records drone strikes, Ephemeral+, was pulled earlier today.

Speaking with Gawker, Begley said that Metadata+ should still work for people who have already installed it.

Apple's review guidelines are ambiguous in their definition of "objectionable" material, which can make it difficult to know what will be rejected. The company has infamously opposed apps as a means of expression however, blocking apps about controversial topics like sweatshops and the Syrian Civil War. The company may see Metadata+ as inherently critical of U.S. military policy, even though its alerts don't typically comment on the guilt or innocence of the dead.
«1345

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 84
    "content that many users would find objectionable."

    That's pretty much the point.

    Poor US military needs PR protection by Apple.
  • Reply 2 of 84
    Yep, many things in life are "objectionable" but I sure don't want Apple to big brother me. Apples policy in this respect is very "objectionable" and offensive.
  • Reply 3 of 84
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dysamoria View Post



    "content that many users would find objectionable."



    That's pretty much the point.



    Poor US military needs PR protection by Apple.

    Why would the US military need PR protection? The drone strikes are killing their intended targets. If you look at the developers drone strike list on his Twitter page, they are all suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists. 

  • Reply 4 of 84
    Bad day to be an Apple fan. What next? No more news of drone strikes in the news app?
  • Reply 5 of 84
    clemynxclemynx Posts: 1,510member
    Not cool. At all.
  • Reply 6 of 84
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,466member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by iGroucho View Post



    Yep, many things in life are "objectionable" but I sure don't want Apple to big brother me. Apples policy in this respect is very "objectionable" and offensive.



    It’s an app store, not a political venue. There are plenty of political websites and venues other than the App Store to disseminate political statements, opinions, and propaganda of all political spectrums. I applaud Apple keeping politics out of the App Store as much as possible. 

  • Reply 7 of 84
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    Censoring the truth is terrible. Always.
    lkrupp wrote: »

    It’s an app store, not a political venue. There are plenty of political websites and venues other than the App Store to disseminate political statements, opinions, and propaganda of all political spectrums. I applaud Apple keeping politics out of the App Store as much as possible. 

    Exactly. Which is why Apple should keep their political views out of it.

    Anyone who downloaded the app, wanted it. I've never heard of this app myself and I'm sure Apple wasn't going to promote it on any of their pages. Let it be, and let those who need the app download it.
  • Reply 8 of 84
    joshajosha Posts: 901member

    How about an App to record and display civilian drone strikes on unintended targets ?  :embarrass

  • Reply 9 of 84
    Sad, disappointed in Apple for removing this app.
  • Reply 10 of 84
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,466member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cali View Post



    Censoring the truth is terrible. Always.

    Exactly. Which is why Apple should keep their political views out of it.



    Anyone who downloaded the app, wanted it. I've never heard of this app myself and I'm sure Apple wasn't going to promote it on any of their pages. Let it be, and let those who need the app download it.



    So you would support ISIS putting a recruitment app complete with beheading videos on the App Store? Apple should keep their opinions to themselves on their own store? What about a NAMBLA app? What about a KKK recruitment app? I suspect that your censorship objections are based more on your personal political views and that you would vociferously object to apps that go against your own sensibilities or beliefs.

  • Reply 11 of 84
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member

    Victims, schmictims.:no: I bet that the majority got exactly what they deserved. :smokey: 

     

    I'm glad that this kind of liberal propaganda is not allowed on the app store. Two thumbs up for Apple from me!:) 

  • Reply 12 of 84
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,418member

    I find censorship, or any case of people telling me they can know things but I can't, objectionable...

    Please remove that, Apple...

  • Reply 13 of 84
    sennensennen Posts: 1,468member

    Disappointing, Apple. Very disappointing.

  • Reply 14 of 84
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    lkrupp wrote: »

    So you would support ISIS putting a recruitment app complete with beheading videos on the App Store? Apple should keep their opinions to themselves on their own store? What about a NAMBLA app? What about a KKK recruitment app? I suspect that your censorship objections are based more on your personal political views and that you would vociferously object to apps that go against your own sensibilities or beliefs.

    Oh God this is gonna get real funny real fast. Your examples are like apples and oranges. I don't "support" this app nor am I against it.

    I DON'T CARE about the app. It isn't FOR or AGAINST any of my beliefs.

    What I don't like is censorship. Whether I like something or not shouldn't matter, the truth shall stand.

    I wouldn't have downloaded the app regardless but to censor the truth?
    apple ][ wrote: »
    Victims, schmictims.:no:  I bet that the majority got exactly what they deserved. :smokey:  

    I'm glad that this kind of liberal propaganda is not allowed on the app store. Two thumbs up for Apple from me!:)  

    1. You only support the decision because Apple. Had they kept the app up you're reply would be "good on Apple! Good to see a company still believes in freedom! If you don't like the app don't download it crybabies!!"*

    2. If you find pleasure in people getting killed by drones who deserved it, then you would have loved the app.

    *reminds me when you were preaching about how bad of people felons were when Apple said they wouldn't employ them for construction work. "I stand by Tim Cook and Apple's decision" you said, like a trooper!
    Apple later changed their stance and all I heard were crickets from you. Lol
  • Reply 15 of 84

    I'm disturbed about Apple playing "thought police" on any topic. I started getting a bit concerned when they pulled Confederate Flag images, even though that's not an issue terribly near or dear to my heart. This issue is something I worry about more, and resembles mass-murder of civilians (on par with what Al Qaida did on 9/11) more than it does any sort of legitimate military operation. People are free to agree or disagree or hate me or whatever. It's still a somewhat free country. In any case, on any topic outside of true threats (specific threats of violence) the answer to undesirable speech is contrary speech. Banning speech doesn't solve anything - it just sweeps the issue under the rug and lets those affected play the "persecution card" in addition to whatever other real or imagined grievances they may already have. Leaving things out in the open creates avenues for everything from angry dissent to intellectual discussion to lighthearted or caustic mockery, etc. This is healthier. 

     

    If Apple wants to have specific lines for violent or sexual imagery that's one thing (not that I'm in favor of it personally, except for parental restrictions), but this is a path that makes me deeply uncomfortable with staying an Apple customer.

  • Reply 16 of 84
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cali View Post



    1. You only support the decision because Apple. Had they kept the app up you're reply would be "good on Apple! Good to see a company still believes in freedom! If you don't like the app don't download it crybabies!!"*



    2. If you find pleasure in people getting killed by drones who deserved it, then you would have loved the app.



    *reminds me when you were preaching about how bad of people felons were when Apple said they wouldn't employ them for construction work. "I stand by Tim Cook and Apple's decision" you said, like a trooper!

    Apple later changed their stance and all I heard were crickets from you. Lol

     

    1. No. Everybody knows that Apple has their rules which they go by and this isn't the first app to be denied or pulled from the store and it wont be the last. Some of the liberals on this forum are just upset because they happen to agree with the message of the app and they don't like seeing the app pulled. Had the app been of a different political persuasion and intent, then they would be cheering the decision to have the app pulled.

     

    2. I do actually find pleasure from it, but unfortunately I do not believe that's the intention behind this app. If the app played some happy music or celebratory music and showed some fireworks graphics and balloon animations each time I pressed on a drone hit icon, then maybe I'd like it.

     

    Felons? I was in favor of that decision because it was the right decision, not because of Tim Cook. I've disagreed with Apple and Tim Cook on countless other issues. 

     

    Your ridiculous post where you are attempting to imply that I would agree with Apple no matter what and support their decision is dead wrong, and anybody who has read this forum a lot knows that the assertion is idiotic, and there are many, many posts on this forum that proves you wrong, where I disagree with Apple and even bash them occassionally, if I feel that they did the wrong thing.:smokey: 

  • Reply 17 of 84
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Boltsfan17 View Post

     

    Why would the US military need PR protection? The drone strikes are killing their intended targets. If you look at the developers drone strike list on his Twitter page, they are all suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists. 


    1) "Suspected"

    2) Collateral damage - sure you get your two bad guys at a party, but you also wipe out 5-20 innocent folks.

  • Reply 18 of 84
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by leftoverbacon View Post

     

    1) "Suspected"

    2) Collateral damage - sure you get your two bad guys at a party, but you also wipe out 5-20 innocent folks.




    Being a terrorist can be quite harmful for their friends and families. It comes with the territory. It's a high risk job.<img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" />

  • Reply 19 of 84
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,869member
    Is there app that counts up all the victims killed by terrorists?
  • Reply 20 of 84
    I think everyone that is against Apple's decision on this does not look at it from Apple's perspective. It's _their_ store. If users really want this information, there's obviously other ways to get it, so I approve Apple not supporting the distribution an app through their store (out of their pocket) for this. It would've been even worse if the app was for sale and Apple was making a profit from it. The app store is not the internet. It just is one venue that operates over the internet, and Apple _should_ be censoring it.
Sign In or Register to comment.