In a sudden, and unexpected move, Apple unilaterally decided to ban the Metadata+ iOS app that maps US drone strikes from the Apple Store.

The app’s main purpose was to send push notifications to users iOS devices when drone strikes were reported. Metadata+ was originally created to work in tandem with @dronestream Twitter account. The Twitter feed was created by Josh Begley to report US drone strikes, and the number of people killed by them.

metadata+

image from Gawker.com

Apple removed the app last weekend for the rather bewildering reason of displaying “excessively rude or objectionable content.”  The reasoning behind the removal seems somewhat nefarious. Metadata+ was a text and basic map based app.

As Begley remarked himself in an interview with Mashable.com back in 2012, there was already an app that allowed people to play as a missile launching drone pilot carrying out strikes. The app however was not removed for being ‘objectionable,’ or ‘crude’ by Apple.

What this….What I’m trying to s…The problem is….

The drone strike ‘game’ is still available to download, as are a host of other apparently Apple approved apps, such as one that lets people map the most stinky flatulence they have had…

I give up.

Persistence beat Apple’s subjective qualifiers

The irony is that the man who created the app, had to make several attempts to get the app approved by Apple before they allowed it in the App Store in the first place.

Josh Begley, an editor from ‘The Intercept,’ originally called the app Drones+. In spite of being “a highly useful news resource,” it was rejected for not being “useful or entertaining enough.” That attempt and two subsequent  were attempts by Begley were disapproved. So he changed the name to Dronestream to try and win past Apple’s app approval team. This also failed.

It was only when Begley removed any reference to drones, changed the name of the app to Metadata+, and included no functionality, content, or reference to drones, that the app was approvedGo figure. It was only after the ’empty’ app was approved that Begley began adding the drone strike information.

Apple’s reasoning

Quite why Apple felt the need to pull the app, is anyone’s guess. Metadata+ issued reports on US drone strikes, and the casulaties such strikes caused. While US drone strikes themselves on foreign soils have been questioned in relation to the legality and dubious moral and ethical grounds, banning an app that reports them, is hardly ‘crude and objectionable’ in itself.