An app that keeps track of every drone strike made by the United States has been banned by Apple from the App Store.
The app was created by Josh Begley in order to accompany his Twitter account @dronestream. On the Twitter account, Begley posts news stories regarding the locations and the times that the United States military executes a drone strike. The postings also tell how many people were killed in the strikes.
Such data would then be entered into the Metadata+ app, and notifications would be sent to alert users when a strike takes place.
It was not easy for Begley to convince Apple to allow the controversial app. He originally wanted to name it Drones+, but after that was denied, he went for Dronestream. However, that also didn’t work, so Begley went with the name of Metadata+. The app was submitted to the App Store with no mention of drones, and that time it was accepted.
Apple claimed that the reason the app was initially rejected was because they believed it was not useful or entertaining. They said that it would not appeal to most users. Another issue was that the app utilized Google Maps, but it did not include the Google logo. They also said that some users might find the content “objectionable”.
Begley said that one Apple employee informed him that his app would not be accepted if its only focus was on drone strikes. The employee said Begley would need to broaden his topic.
However, even after the app was finally accepted, it just recently got banned, months later.
Meanwhile, violent, gory video games are still available on the App Store. This is simply a case of Apple rejecting a journalistic product, and it isn’t the first time either.
Recently an app that was censored allowed users to take a virtual reality walk through the 2014 Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, MO. The app showed 3D models of key people in the case and their locations according to witnesses. It also provided users with radio recordings and photos of evidence. There were no violent scenes in the app.
Apple says that the app was “too narrow”, since it only focused on one single event. However, most people assume that Apple simply did not want to deal with the controversy.
Apple says that the company maintains behavioral standards for apps, and it will ban any app that it believes crosses the line.