Apple apologizes over Baby Shaker app

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple's App Store, often lambasted for being slow and excessively conservative in its approval process, is now apologizing for having approved a game where players kill babies by shaking them to death.



The Baby Shaker app was pulled two days after it was approved this Monday following a barrage of complaints that forced Apple to both take the app down and issue an apology, which was obtained by CNet News.com.



"This application was deeply offensive and should not have been approved for distribution on the App Store," the company said. " When we learned of this mistake, the app was removed immediately. We sincerely apologize for this mistake and thank our customers for bringing this to our attention."



Sikalosoft, the developer of the Baby Shaker game, was apparently also deluged with complaints, as it has stripped all mention of the title from its own website as well.



Apple has regularly delisted or refused new apps based on profanity, objectionable content, or in some cases, reasons related to licensing agreements or business protection, such as the NetShare tethering app for sharing mobile network access over WiFi to a computer.



That app was pulled even faster than Baby Shaker, then restored, then removed permanently, all due to contractual limitations with mobile carriers. Apple has since announced that iPhone 3.0 will incorporate native technology to perform tethering, but has noted that it still needs to work out details with the carriers who will have to supply the bandwidth to support that feature.



Other apps originally barred from the App Store as offensive include a cloud of farting apps which were later allowed back on the platform after developers complained that Apple's highbrow standards were causing more of a stink than the presence of a few less than classy titles.



Simply keeping up with the volume of new submissions is a tremendous task in itself; the App Store library has ballooned from 15,000 in January to over 35,000 apps just three months later. On top of that, Apple also has to account for taste, with some users and developers clamoring for no restrictions at all, while others demanding Apple police content. The company itself seeks to maintain a professional and sophisticated library of software content for the iPhone, in part to court the attention of corporations and business users.



A successful game of Baby Shake | (Screenshot by Tom Krazit/CNET)



Determining where to draw the line is a difficult business. At the company's annual shareholder meeting this spring, one conservative group sent a representative to voice outrage over the availability of TV programming in iTunes that they found objectionable, despite the fact that the shows they complained about are publicly broadcast over the air in the US, that their production has nothing to do with Apple, and that Apple provides parental controls in its products to allow families to limit what content their children access.



Apple currently does not badge App Store titles using standardized ratings like those used for video games, TV or movies, nor does it mark app content as explicit as it does with music and podcasts, both of which are designated as such by their producers, not by Apple.



Adding a rating system for mobile apps, even a voluntary one where developers set their own audience rating, could pacify the concerns of both conservative groups and those who want to sell adult content to a specialized audience.
«1345

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 96
    cu10cu10 Posts: 294member
    Acceptance process let this one through...
  • Reply 2 of 96
    wobegonwobegon Posts: 764member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple currently does not badge App Store titles using standardized ratings like those used for video games, TV or movies, nor does it mark app content as explicit as it does with music and podcasts, both of which are designated as such by their producers, not by Apple.



    They don't?





    and





    Note the age ratings on both, and the description of mature content in the hunting title.
  • Reply 3 of 96
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CU10 View Post


    Acceptance process let this one through...



    I don't know, I think people are making entirely too much out of this incident. Especially given that all we have is a general description of the app, and none of the people damning it have ever played it or seen it.



    Anyone over the age of 45 or so who remembers the 70's or the 60's can tell you that this sort of black humour used to be common, things like this were published in humour magazines and lampooned on comedy shows all the time.



    At the risk of using the classic "old-timer" phrase ... it never hurt me or anyone I ever heard of.



    We can't laugh at this sort of thing anymore, but we have wall to wall disgusting porn available to every six year old through the internet? This is "too shocking" yet we are (at least 30 or 40 percent of us) okay with raping and torturing our enemies in wartime?



    Sometimes it seems like the world is topsy-turvy. We are so PC we can't make an inappropriate joke, but at the same time pretty much anything goes as long as you keep it nominally hidden or don't talk about it too much? That's just dishonest. I think censorship is always wrong unless there is an actual material harm that can be identified. This is not that. It's a stupid game like the folks at National Lampoon would have wrote if they could write iPhone games back then.



    It's not Apple's job to protect us from boobies and bad jokes.
  • Reply 4 of 96
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wobegon View Post


    They don't?



    image: http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g3...f/Picture9.png

    and

    image: http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g3...f/Picture8.png



    Note the age ratings on both, and the description of mature content in the hunting title.



    The article does state that they don't use "standardized' ratings, not that there are no ratings at all.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post


    Anyone over the age of 45 or so who remembers the 70's or the 60's can tell you that this sort of black humour used to be common, things like this were published in humour magazines and lampooned on comedy shows all the time.



    You can't call it "black humour" anymore you racist.
  • Reply 5 of 96
    hattighattig Posts: 830member
    Ugh, what am I going to do with my game? Spent so long on "British Nanny", then this comes along and takes the wind from under my sails! :-(



    Oh I know, I'll replace the babies with terrorists and all will be good.
  • Reply 6 of 96
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,581member
    This "game" isn't even worth the effort. More important is the fact that 1 billion apps have already been downloaded and that hasn't been acknowledged here yet. Why the delay?
  • Reply 7 of 96
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hattig View Post


    Oh I know, I'll replace the babies with terrorists and all will be good.



    A sniper game against Somalian pirates might work right now.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    More important is the fact that 1 billion apps have already been downloaded and that hasn't been acknowledged here yet. Why the delay?



    Probably waiting for the results of the winners and billionth app, otherwise it's just a boring title and time frame. It this were a blog site it would be enough for a posting.
  • Reply 8 of 96
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Probably waiting for the results of the winners and billionth app, otherwise it's just a boring title and time frame. It this were a blog site it would be enough for a posting.



    The billionth app was "Baby Shaker," purchased by Steve Jobs.
  • Reply 9 of 96
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,182member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post


    I don't know, I think people are making entirely too much out of this incident. Especially given that all we have is a general description of the app, and none of the people damning it have ever played it or seen it.



    Anyone over the age of 45 or so who remembers the 70's or the 60's can tell you that this sort of black humour used to be common, things like this were published in humour magazines and lampooned on comedy shows all the time.



    At the risk of using the classic "old-timer" phrase ... it never hurt me or anyone I ever heard of.



    We can't laugh at this sort of thing anymore, but we have wall to wall disgusting porn available to every six year old through the internet? This is "too shocking" yet we are (at least 30 or 40 percent of us) okay with raping and torturing our enemies in wartime?



    Sometimes it seems like the world is topsy-turvy. We are so PC we can't make an inappropriate joke, but at the same time pretty much anything goes as long as you keep it nominally hidden or don't talk about it too much? That's just dishonest. I think censorship is always wrong unless there is an actual material harm that can be identified. This is not that. It's a stupid game like the folks at National Lampoon would have wrote if they could write iPhone games back then.



    It's not Apple's job to protect us from boobies and bad jokes.





    Totally agree
  • Reply 10 of 96
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member
    So it was removed.



    Ok, good.



    Moving right along, then . . .
  • Reply 11 of 96
    psych_guypsych_guy Posts: 454member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post


    I don't know, I think people are making entirely too much out of this incident. Especially given that all we have is a general description of the app, and none of the people damning it have ever played it or seen it.



    Anyone over the age of 45 or so who remembers the 70's or the 60's can tell you that this sort of black humour used to be common, things like this were published in humour magazines and lampooned on comedy shows all the time.



    At the risk of using the classic "old-timer" phrase ... it never hurt me or anyone I ever heard of.



    We can't laugh at this sort of thing anymore, but we have wall to wall disgusting porn available to every six year old through the internet? This is "too shocking" yet we are (at least 30 or 40 percent of us) okay with raping and torturing our enemies in wartime?



    Sometimes it seems like the world is topsy-turvy. We are so PC we can't make an inappropriate joke, but at the same time pretty much anything goes as long as you keep it nominally hidden or don't talk about it too much? That's just dishonest. I think censorship is always wrong unless there is an actual material harm that can be identified. This is not that. It's a stupid game like the folks at National Lampoon would have wrote if they could write iPhone games back then.



    It's not Apple's job to protect us from boobies and bad jokes.



    It's a matter of perspective and relative maturity. My 23 year old nephew thought it was hilarious and wanted to buy it, but I'm an MFT, and personally I don't find it all that funny. Just because standards and mores were more open in some senses, 20, 30 or 40 years ago, doesn't mean it could be or should be acceptable today. The public's opinion changes in light of some deviant behavior, this reaction and Apple's decision to pull the app is evidence of that. I believe you are mourning a more open time.
  • Reply 12 of 96
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post


    I don't know, I think people are making entirely too much out of this incident. Especially given that all we have is a general description of the app, and none of the people damning it have ever played it or seen it.



    Anyone over the age of 45 or so who remembers the 70's or the 60's can tell you that this sort of black humour used to be common, things like this were published in humour magazines and lampooned on comedy shows all the time.



    At the risk of using the classic "old-timer" phrase ... it never hurt me or anyone I ever heard of.



    We can't laugh at this sort of thing anymore, but we have wall to wall disgusting porn available to every six year old through the internet? This is "too shocking" yet we are (at least 30 or 40 percent of us) okay with raping and torturing our enemies in wartime?



    Sometimes it seems like the world is topsy-turvy. We are so PC we can't make an inappropriate joke, but at the same time pretty much anything goes as long as you keep it nominally hidden or don't talk about it too much? That's just dishonest. I think censorship is always wrong unless there is an actual material harm that can be identified. This is not that. It's a stupid game like the folks at National Lampoon would have wrote if they could write iPhone games back then.



    It's not Apple's job to protect us from boobies and bad jokes.



    Are you really that #$*&)!^ naive? It's a game where you shake babies to death? Is shaking a baby to death just a game to you? Or maybe your a sick and evil little f*#$&r like the developer of the game?
  • Reply 13 of 96
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by deanbonkovich View Post


    Is shaking a baby to death just a game to you?



    A game shaking babies to death is still just a game, just as a game shooting people is still just a game, yet they are plentiful in all forms of gaming. That is not to say that the app is good choice for the App Store or any other store, but he did make it clear that we are making too much out of it and I think your post, complete with faux-expletives, reinforces his point.
  • Reply 14 of 96
    Those life-loving conservatives would only be satisfied if you replaced the babies with gay people. Plus more gore and blood.
  • Reply 15 of 96
    This needs to go way beyond a pitiful badge of small text.

    A lot of people think this is getting out of hand, my friends and I even decided to start a Facebook group against this type of thing.

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=73370240971



    Everyone should speak up. At some point Apple needs to take a stronger stand in the name of Corporate Social Responsibility. Ever heard of that Mr. Steve Jobs?? Look it up!!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corpora...responsibility

    It's time to stop hiding behind the concern of censorship or objectivity when it gets to this point.



    I appreciate that it may be hard to figure out where the line should be drawn - so what - boo hoo - that's what meetings and technology are for. That's what lawyers get paid big bucks for. So sit in a room for as long as it takes, put some of that famous genius of yours to work and figure it out.
  • Reply 16 of 96
    wobegonwobegon Posts: 764member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    The article does state that they don't use "standardized' ratings, not that there are no ratings at all.



    How are the app age/content ratings currently used on the App Store not "standardized"? What constitutes as "standardized"?
  • Reply 17 of 96
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Trajectory View Post


    Those life-loving conservatives would only be satisfied if you replaced the babies with gay people. Plus more gore and blood.



    Nawww, Gay people are always stirred never shaken.
  • Reply 18 of 96
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by carloblackmore View Post


    This needs to go way beyond a pitiful badge of small text.

    A lot of people think this going too far, my friends and I decided to start a Facebook group for this type of thing.

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=73370240971



    Everyone should speak up. At some point Apple needs to take a stronger stand in the name of Corporate Social Responsibility. Ever heard of that Mr. Jobs?? Look it up!!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corpora...responsibility

    It's time to stop hiding behind a lame concept such as censorship or objectivity when it gets to this point.



    I appreciate that it may be hard to figure out where the line should be drawn - so what - boo hoo - that's what technology is for. That's what lawyers get paid big bucks for. So sit in a room for as long as it takes, put some of that famous genius of yours to work and figure it out.



    1) Creating a Facebook group to get Apple to do something is less effective than if you picketed Redmond, WA to get Apple's attention... and it's just lame to begin with.



    2) Apple understand CSR and does quite a bit toward it, though perhaps in the name of. The removal of and lack of approval for questionable apps is proof of that.



    3) I'm sure Apple will institute a unified ratings level at some point, but remember that the App Store only launched 9 months ago. I don't think Apple had any idea of how successful it would be. I know such groups exist to state problems without actually conceiving of resolutions so I'll give you a couple questions about the logistics: Who monitors the ratings? If the developer then the whole thing is pointless. If it's Apple then there is a very large, expensive team that needs to be made to monitor the 35k+ apps from start to finish, including each update, to make sure there is no language, images, audio, or general unpleasantly that someone could find offensive. Then they need to figure out what the rating levels and types will be. One family might be okay with first person shooters of people but not of wild game, and vice versa. That two types of families do exist. Then there is religious slander and sex and all sorts of things inbetween that isn't easily labeled. Does Apple just slap a good/bad rating like the RIAA's explicit content sticker or go with some silly generalizations about content like the MPAA has.
  • Reply 19 of 96
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wobegon View Post


    How are the app age/content ratings currently used on the App Store not "standardized"? What constitutes as "standardized"?



    What Apple does to its store is the standard, and if they change it tomorrow that is the new standard from a certain PoV, but I don't think that is what was meant by the article. I think they meant like how video games are given standard ratings.
  • Reply 20 of 96
    The worst part in my mind is that the app isn't clever in the slightest. It's poorly produced and the developer put no effort into it whatsoever.



    the biggest reason why it's indefensible is because it is poorly done. just because it's black humor doesn't automatically make it funny. black humor for the sake of black humor is just crass.
Sign In or Register to comment.