Apple Doesn’t Want You to Know Too Much About Our Drone Strikes
Okay for Apple store
Not Okay for Apple store
Evidently believing too much substantive information can be bad for business, this weekend Apple pulled a free app that catalogues and maps drone killings by the U.S. because it found its content “objectionable.” The Metadata+ app was developed by Intercept editor Josh Begley, who had to rework it five times to get past Apple’s restrictions on content – farts, cats, porn are just fine – for the App Store; ultimately, they only accepted it after Begley removed the word “drone” from it. The app listed the date, location and victims of American drone strikes, and buzzed users at each new strike. “I love my phone because it puts me at the center of the map,” Begley explainedwhile developing the app. “But I’m not the center of the map. I can’t even pronounce the names of the places we’re bombing.”
With Metadata+, Begley hoped to create a “historical archive,” offering “information about people you’ll never know. If the folks on the other side of our missiles are presented to us in the same places we see pictures of our loved ones, that (might) nudge me to learn a little more about the contours of our covert war.” Its success depended on the vital question, “Do we want to be as connected to our foreign policy as we are to out smartphones?” Apple had its own answer: No thanks.
After seven months, they pulled the app from the Apple store this weekend, posting that it was removed due to “exceptionally crude or objectionable content.” Of course they’re right – though not about the notifications, but the strikes themselves. If you still believe that information is power, you can still follow Begley’s Twitter account @dronestream. No cats, many atrocities.