Some of the greatest advancements of recent years – both technological and cultural – can be attributed to the smartphone revolution, and the tablet device phenomenon that followed hot on its heels. Courtesy of these devices, we can contact friends and loved ones all over the globe for next to nothing, we can navigate our way home on long drives and we can while away hours on long journeys. Apps are the gateway through which we can use our smartphones and tablets in this hugely flexible way, and they are dealt in by company-specific services such as Google Play and Apple’s App Store.
There are some apps that are simply unwelcome on the App Store, however – Apple operate a strict vetting system to ensure that only approved apps are listed for purchase. Here are just a couple that failed to make the cut…
Girls Around Me
Girls Around Me had a very short run on the App Store, after questions were raised regarding the security and privacy implications of the app. Female users of apps like Foursquare and Facebook in the immediate area were visible to anyone with the Girls Around Me app, marketed as a way of helping male users locate girls to hit on.
Although the Girls Around Me app was not accessing any information that isn’t already publicly visible, the fact that it was presenting that data in such a way as to aid in the targetting of women, for whatever reason. Apple were unsure the app was suitable for its App Store, due to the uses it could be put to by unscrupulous users, and so the decision was made to pull it from the store.
Jew Or Not Jew
The decision behind this app’s removal from the App Store was similar to the decision behind Girls Around Me – it was deemed unsuitable to be associated with or endorsed by Apple. The reasoning behind this judgement was more concerned with racism and prejudice than invasion of privacy or personal security, hoever.
Jew Or Not Jew was designed as a database of actors, writers, musicians and other notable cultural figures, which rated celebrity ‘Jewishness’. Ratings were determined by the strength or proliferation of Jewish culture in an individual’s background, how closely their physical appearance and public behaviour conform to Jewish stereotypes, and – in the words of the app owners – ‘how much we want that person to be a Jew in the first place’.
When the app found its way onto the App Store, it was soon removed amid concerns that it would spark or encourage anti-Semitic feeling among the Apple customer-base.
Apple have to be extremely careful what they allow to be posted on the App Store. Anything that promises to have a detrimental impact on the lives of any Apple customers is likely to be whipped off almost immediately – whether that impact is physical (as may have been the case if Girls Around Me were to be abused) or emotional (as would have been the case if Jew Or Not Jew had been used to incite anti-Semitic feeling.)
If you’re planning on putting together an app that you hope to make available through the App Store, be sure to check it against Apple’s terms and conditions first.
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