Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Apple Bans Game App That Criticizes Smartphone Production

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the saw-that-coming dept.

Iphone 213

An anonymous reader sends word that Apple has removed from the App Store a game called Phone Story, which walks players through the creation of a smartphone, highlighting many of the negative aspects. There are four brief stages: running a mining facility in the Congo, saving suicidal factory workers, handing out phones to oblivious consumers, and generating e-waste through planned obsolescence. Apple said Phone Story violated sections 15.2, 16.1, 21.1, and 21.2 of the App Store guidelines, which make reference to "objectionable or crude content" and "offensive or mean-spirited commentary." A short video of the game has been posted at Kotaku.

cancel ×

213 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Why am I so surprised :) (5, Funny)

youn (1516637) | about 3 years ago | (#37395006)

apple has always been acting very nice to criticism so far, never threatening to sue commentaries it did not like... this is so out of character :)

Re:Why am I so surprised :) (0)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 3 years ago | (#37395098)

So, you're saying that they should not follow their guidelines just because the app critizizes smartphone production?

Re:Why am I so surprised :) (4, Informative)

Nasajin (967925) | about 3 years ago | (#37395166)

Clauses 15.2 and 16.1 (15.2 Apps that depict violence or abuse of children will be rejected, 16.1 Apps that present excessively objectionable or crude content will be rejected) are not being contested by Molleindustria, rather they are contesting points 21.1 and 21.2, which refer to in-app donation collection methods. The response from game studio is as follows:

We are currently considering two steps:

* Produce a new version of Phone Story that depicts the violence and abuse of children involved in the electronic manufacturing supply chain in a non-crude and non-objectionable way.

* Release a version for the Android market and jailbroken ios devices.

From the publisher's website. http://phonestory.org/banned.html [phonestory.org]

Re:Why am I so surprised :) (1)

monkyyy (1901940) | about 3 years ago | (#37395216)

i hope they go the 2nd option

Re:Why am I so surprised :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37395692)

It seems they already have, unless the one I found wasn't by them (had the same name though). Took a bit of scrolling after searching "Phone Story" mind.

Seconded. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 3 years ago | (#37395836)

The actual violence and abuse of children is crude and objectionable. The contortions you'd have to go through to make it not be so would rob the app of any hope it ever had of making an impact.

Dr Obvious. (1)

CountBrass (590228) | about 3 years ago | (#37396360)

Yes, thank you for explaining their point for those without the two brain cells needed to work it out for themselves...

Re:Seconded. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37396622)

You may have missed the sarcasm tags.

Re:Why am I so surprised :) (2)

DrXym (126579) | about 3 years ago | (#37396248)

I expect Phone Story would be equally applicable regardless of the phone OS sitting on top. Even some Android / Windows Phone devices could be accused of planned obsolescence by aping Apple's sealed in batteries, not allowing memory expansions and so on.

The one thing that could be said of Android is that Phone Story would be available whether Google listed it on Marketplace or not - the devs could host the .apk on their own site and people could download it if they wished.

Android phone made of hemp by ... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37395272)

We are currently considering ...

* Release a version for the Android market and jailbroken ios devices.

Yeah, cause Android phones are made from hemp by fair trade workers.

This is all just a publicity stunt, seems to be working quite well. Congrats to the developer no one had ever heard of.

Re:Android phone made of hemp by ... (2)

Nasajin (967925) | about 3 years ago | (#37395662)

A publicity stunt? I guess so, although the developers are independently funded, all their games are free, and they've been around for a while. They essentially produce donationware, so it's not of financial benefit to the developers. Their site is here: http://www.molleindustria.org/en/home [molleindustria.org] . I recognized Every day the same dream, McDonalds Videogame, and Oiligarchy.
A friend pointed out to me MIT Press published a book that discusses most of the games in a political context: Newsgames: Journalism at Play by Ian Bogost et al, 2010.

Re:Android phone made of hemp by ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37395766)

A publicity stunt? I guess so, although the developers are independently funded, all their games are free, and they've been around for a while. They essentially produce donationware, so it's not of financial benefit to the developers.

Organizations soliciting donations often desire publicity. Organizations with a political/social agenda often desire publicity. Consider PETA using various naked celebrities to garner publicity. Maybe their next app can show Pamela Anderson's boobs, then they can have another round of "my app got banned" articles.

Re:Android phone made of hemp by ... (1)

petman (619526) | about 3 years ago | (#37396438)

... all their games are free, ...

Huh? Weren't they selling the app on the App Store before it got pulled?

Re:Android phone made of hemp by ... (1)

Nasajin (967925) | about 3 years ago | (#37396502)

Sorry, I meant to say "almost all". I think I must have deleted something when I was proofreading the sentence. All the games on their website are available free, and the PhoneStory game that the fuss is about is not one of the ones advertised on their website.

Re:Why am I so surprised :) (2, Interesting)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about 3 years ago | (#37395276)

Simple Rules in business:

Don't tell Big Tobacco that smoking kills.
Don't tell Big Fast Food that their food is unhealthy.
Don't tell Big Pharma that they peddle snake oil pills driven to consumers by fear they (Big Pharma) create.

Apparently we can now add:
Don't tell Big Communications that their industry has any sort of faults or makes a buck off the backs of kids in poor-shit-hole-third-world countries.

Also in the agreement: 16.1 Apps that present excessively objectionable or crude content will be rejected
When Apple says "Questionable" they don't mean "questionable to the general public" - they mean "questionable to an Apple executive".

Re:Why am I so surprised :) (2)

belg4mit (152620) | about 3 years ago | (#37395172)

He's suggesting such guidelines should not exist in the first place.

Re:Why am I so surprised :) (4, Insightful)

bky1701 (979071) | about 3 years ago | (#37395174)

Oh, but the independent, trendy vanguard of the people that is Apple would never attempt to do anything bad! Why, whatever they do has to be good; for, simply their doing it makes it good!

Hark! I hear now many rushing to justify Apple, by quoting other worse companies, or such by ingenious logical methods as to perplex lesser men entirely. Surely, this is simply another reason that Apple is the great organization that it is!

Re:Why am I so surprised :) (2, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | about 3 years ago | (#37395358)

Who says it's a justification of Apple to point out that they get singled out in this sort of thing.

1) Person A is doing bad things!

2) Well, Person B does identical things, perhaps you should criticise them too.

1) You're just trying to justify Person A's actions!

2) Err? I guess you could try and twist it that way. Am I not allowed to mention Person B's infractions at all when talking about this? Does mentioning them somehow make it look like I'm trying to give Person A a pass?

1) Whatever fanboi!

Re:Why am I so surprised :) (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 3 years ago | (#37395450)

In the Android market (person B) it would have just been accepted and the authors of this game wouldn't have anything to publicly complain about in the media.

Re:Why am I so surprised :) (2)

jo_ham (604554) | about 3 years ago | (#37395564)

Well that's the point isn't it - despite doing the same things (apart from tighter control on the App Store, which is really the only difference), they're the same. Yet I've already seen it on this thread a few times: "this is what you get with Apple: censorship, third world slave labour and outsourcing!" in serious posts, as if every other mass market product in the world is made in the utopian ideal of well paid/well treated factory workers in local factories.

Point out the issues with globalisation and capitalism, but not from a starting position of hypocrisy ("This is why I have an Android phone").

Re:Why am I so surprised :) (3, Interesting)

danish94 (2427678) | about 3 years ago | (#37395950)

But you forget that android's marketplace is NOT the only legal way to buy and sell apps. even if google rejects the game, the developers can still just send a link to download the game (you know, like normal software) or publish it at amazon's appstore. If you are rejected by apple you're only way to share the game is to jailbroken devices. That's why ios is a walled garden, and android is not. (I am talking about the censorship part. slave labor and outsourcing is done by everyone)

Re:Why am I so surprised :) (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about 3 years ago | (#37395994)

You can, of course, publish it as an HTML5 app on the iPhone - the method that predates the App Store and is still fully supported.

Re:Why am I so surprised :) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37396408)

html5 is as close to death as that fucking evil controlling hippy jobs. good thing too.

Re:Why am I so surprised :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37396620)

The app would still be on the store if they had not used Apple's logo in their product. I see it is a very smart marketing move to intentionally use another company's trademark without permission knowing that it would be removed. And all the sheep have fallen into line just as the developer intended. They're as bad as Greenpeace. "We could protest anywhere, but if we protest APPLE, people may actually see us!"

Everyone has to admit that otherwise, you wouldn't have heard of the developer or their app, eh?

Incomplete game? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37395010)

In hindsight, maybe it could've used one more stage.

Re:Incomplete game? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37395118)

Yes! Too bad the man stepped down, though. Steve Jobs would be a great endboss, he'd keep trying to choke you in his reality distortion field.

Please Keep Our Consumers Dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37395034)

Where can I donate to Apple and our savior, Steve Jobs?

No win, really (4, Interesting)

Jiro (131519) | about 3 years ago | (#37395042)

Allowing the application will reflect negatively on Apple just as much as censoring it (and not for reasons having to do with whether the criticism has substance). I can just imagine the headlines: "Apple is so dumb they will sell you the rope you can hang them with".

Re:No win, really (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37395132)

Also, it's not an "app" and it's not a "game."

It's propaganda, plain and simple.

Good luck marketing an anti-Valve game on Steam, anti-Microsoft game on XBOX Live, or an anti-Sony game on the PSN.

Apple is setting the correct precedent here.

Re:No win, really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37395270)

I don't know about corporations, but I wouldn't ban something (from my store or whatever else) merely because it criticized me. I don't think there's anything "correct" about doing that.

Re:No win, really (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 3 years ago | (#37395342)

Aren't you worried that it might hurt your business?

Re:No win, really (4, Insightful)

Eudial (590661) | about 3 years ago | (#37396808)

If you censor criticism, you're not merely losing the moral high ground, you're also validating the criticism (after all, why would you censor something if it wasn't true?) as well as giving it publicity (see the Streisand effect.)

The correct thing to do is to face the criticism. If they are wrong, then you prove it (tour of the facilities maybe?). If they've unearthed something wrong, then you publicly apologize and fix that. Under no circumstances try to weasel out through semantic loopholes or by putting down straw men.

Censorship (2)

Mathinker (909784) | about 3 years ago | (#37395312)

It's propaganda, plain and simple.

And this [slashdot.org] wasn't also?

Face it, Apple deserves criticism when it messes up on its decided course to censor all executables for iOS. It is perfectly OK to criticize Apple for not having the balls to approve content which criticizes Apple --- and AFAIK this content wasn't even criticizing Apple directly (unlike the strawman examples you talk about), it was criticizing all smartphone production (and probably, by association, smartphone consumption).

If someone wants to worship censorship because it's Apple's censorship, he should at least be honest about it. In the case of the Apple App Store, Apple took the decision to censor all executables so that it could give a "walled garden" experience. I can understand how consumers benefit from having malware walled out; I can imagine some consumers enjoying the walling out of various content which offends them (e.g., naked breast images); but I find the submission of the executable in question here (be it classified as a game, an app, or propaganda) to be an interesting commentary on society --- it emphasizes the fact that consumers enjoy not having to deal with criticism of themselves (since they encouraged the production of the smartphone they use by buying it).

Re:Censorship (1)

Froomb (100183) | about 3 years ago | (#37396682)

So Apple is deemed evil for removing a game treating worker suicides as grist for a clever post-modern parody of jaded consumerism? The "evil Foxconn drives its exploited workers into suicidal despair" meme is apparently now so entrenched its supposed truth is the stuff of games. Nasty Apple for choosing not to endorse a superficial falsehood presently crudely and for lucre.

Re:No win, really (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | about 3 years ago | (#37395792)

And it would be perfectly valid if Apple had provided a user-authenticated way for users to install homebrew apps on their phones. Note "user-authenticated" is simple - remember an ITunes account is needed to activate your phone and install apps.

Right now, anyone who has my phone for a few moments can visit jailbreakme.com, jailbreak my phone and install whatever he wants to (including keylogger software).

Does Valve prevent you installing games on your PC?

XBox and PS3 are in the same boat as Apple.

(Just wondering -- when your phone is on a contract, who "owns" the phone. Is it the phone company? Or is it you, with you being liable to pay the contract termination fee?)

Re:No win, really (2)

bky1701 (979071) | about 3 years ago | (#37395200)

Please tell me. Who would use that headline? "Man publishes app that makes Apple look bad," somehow lacks the editorial ring of "Apple censors app that makes them look bad."

Re:No win, really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37395248)

"Apple Approves Anti-iPhone iPhone App"

This shit practically writes itself.

In other news...
/. Poster Born Without Imagination

Re:No win, really (1)

aiht (1017790) | about 3 years ago | (#37395800)

"Apple Approves Anti-iPhone iPhone App"

That headline would make me think "Oh! Maybe Apple's not as bad as I thought."
This one makes me think "Oh! Apple may be even worse than I thought."

Re:No win, really (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37395830)

I can just imagine the headlines: "Apple is so dumb they will sell you the rope you can hang them with".

but it's an iHang!

Re:No win, really (2)

zwei2stein (782480) | about 3 years ago | (#37395902)

Just like you have cop-assisted suicide, you also have apple-assisted Streisand effect.

If you think about it, producing controversial app that you know since day 1 of development to not pass review process, is extemely cheap way to get your name on title pages.

I bet app authors would be royally pissed if it actually passed review process and appeared in app store.

Re:No win, really (2)

grouchomarxist (127479) | about 3 years ago | (#37396538)

Actually, it did pass the review process. It was available on the app store for a couple of hours before Apple pulled it. Whoever reviewed it probably wasn't playing close attention.

If it is a no-win situation . . . (1)

Kunedog (1033226) | about 3 years ago | (#37395936)

. . . then Apple still has only themselves to blame. They willfully demonstrated previously that they're willing to censor content for their own petty and arbitrary reasons, and now they can't (easily) back out of that. They've therefore opened themselves up to substantive criticism regarding the consistency of their censorship.

Re:No win, really (1)

tsa (15680) | about 3 years ago | (#37396916)

I think blocking this gives the 'game' as well as Apple more press coverage than allowing it, so we have here a win/lose situation.

Fuck you apple (1, Troll)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37395054)

its not "offensive or mean-spirited commentary" its the truth, and you are the innovator of it

Re:Fuck you apple (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about 3 years ago | (#37395366)

So wait *now* they are the innovators and inventors of the smartphone?

Ok.

You heard it here first: slashdot admits Apple invented the smartphone and put in all the innovation. No backsies.

Re:Fuck you apple (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37395456)

according to you fanbois yes, every time someone mentions a smartphone "you wouldnt have a smartphone without apple" but now its shed in a bad light "oh wait a min!"

Re:Fuck you apple (1, Interesting)

jo_ham (604554) | about 3 years ago | (#37395626)

No, my point to you was that in any Apple thread, regardless of what it's really about, there's always a flurry of /. posts about how Apple doesn't innovate, only steals, about how they take concepts that Linux and OSS was doing years ago and then "claim to invent" them and call them "magical" etc, and yet here you are claiming that Apple *are* the innovators and inventors of the smartphone.

I'm not under any illusion that Apple were not the first to make a smartphone, or mp3 player, or all-in-one computer, or tablet, or online music store - it's only the rabid Apple haters who claim that's what Apple fans believe. What I tend to point out is that they are very good at popularising what was formerly a niche, or at the very least getting into a market just as it's about to go huge - something they have proved many times with many "hits" (and a few flops too, along the way).

It's just amusing to see an Apple Troll claiming that the smartphone was all Apple's innovation for once. (It wasn't of course, but I guess it's true now - you Apple Haters are so vehement about being right that it must be).

Re:Fuck you apple (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37395874)

it was a smartass comment, dont go spending your live evaluating it

Game is available on Installous for jailbreakers (1)

Cito (1725214) | about 3 years ago | (#37395062)

If anyone wanted to nab a copy it's still on Installous if you are jailbroken. I never use app store anymore really, I like Cydia and Installous where I can install what I want without apple's insane draconian app rules

Re:Game is available on Installous for jailbreaker (1)

bronney (638318) | about 3 years ago | (#37395168)

what's the search term? I tried phone story and nothing.

Re:Game is available on Installous for jailbreaker (1)

Cito (1725214) | about 3 years ago | (#37395292)

I found it searching 'phone story' in installous it was about 4 pages down when you get to bottom of screen and it auto loads next screen of search results. there was only 1 source on fileape when I picked it up. http://phonestory.org/banned.html [phonestory.org] the developer will probably put it on Cydia he mentions on his website also. If the Fileape source is down the listing drops I'll repost in the hackulous forums for a repost. also http://hackulo.us/forums/ [hackulo.us] - has a request section they have the binary there to install manually

The game sounds brilliant (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 3 years ago | (#37395084)

It needs to be ported to other platforms and renamed "this app is banned on the iphone".

Apple/Scientology? (3, Interesting)

therufus (677843) | about 3 years ago | (#37395104)

I've always jokingly called apple the "Cult of Macintology", but now it's even more obvious. The cult of $cientology sue people when they don't like what they're saying, Apple also take action (by the sole means they can) by killing off criticism.

Can anyone say Streisand effect?

Re:Apple/Scientology? (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about 3 years ago | (#37395154)

yea, they are stomping on freedom of speech when they removed this game from their store, using their rules to suit their own purpose or to stomp a compeditor.

Re:Apple/Scientology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37396802)

Your sarcasm is, sadly, spot on, but this should only serve as a reminder that app stores (especially ones that are the only sensible way to install software on a device) are a terrible, terrible idea that we should never get behind of.

Re:Apple/Scientology? (1)

farnsworth (558449) | about 3 years ago | (#37395246)

I've always jokingly called apple the "Cult of Macintology", but now it's even more obvious. The cult of $cientology sue people when they don't like what they're saying, Apple also take action (by the sole means they can) by killing off criticism.

Can anyone say Streisand effect?

I'm not sure what your point is, but I'm not sure that a comparison between significant changes in their manufacturing due to direct criticism [wikipedia.org] versus pulling a retarded game from their own app store helps your point.

Re:Apple/Scientology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37395332)

retarded game

According to who? I wouldn't want to release anything in that store if it could be pulled off merely because someone was of the opinion that it was "retarded." How subjective.

Re:Apple/Scientology? (1)

Waccoon (1186667) | about 3 years ago | (#37395608)

Can anyone say Streisand effect?

Did you say something? I was too busy launching birds at pigs to care about that boring political bullshit.

Giggles (4, Funny)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 3 years ago | (#37395158)

Goes back on his Android.

Re:Giggles (2)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37395202)

Indeed, this sort of crap is precisely why I didn't get an iPhone.

Granted, there are downsides, but all in all I'd rather have to look out for myself than have somebody tell me I can't have an app because it makes them look bad.

Chuckles (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37395252)

Shoves greased up Yoda doll up his ass.

Re:Giggles (0)

istartedi (132515) | about 3 years ago | (#37395278)

Because the product lifecycle on those is controlled according to the highest standards? Yeah, right.

Re:Giggles (2)

wannabgeek (323414) | about 3 years ago | (#37396730)

No, because there is nobody who can stop me from installing any app I want on my phone. Did you really miss the point, or were you trying to act smart by diverting the topic?

Re:Giggles (-1, Troll)

jo_ham (604554) | about 3 years ago | (#37395382)

Yeah, much easier when you don't have any apps to worry about!

Well, apart from the ones that send SMS messages to the wrong people. I wish I could get that one on iPhone.

Re:Giggles (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37395638)

That's the first time in ages I've seen someone claim that android has no apps. You iFanboys are a hoot.

Re:Giggles (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about 3 years ago | (#37395728)

Whooooooooooosh!

I think you missed the sarcasm. I'm not sure I could have bludgeoned you over the head any more firmly with it. I might have injured someone.

It fun to poke at Apple (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37395190)

The Developer of the App knew they were going to get ban, it was obvious. Its like the child wanting to get up the parent skin just for the fun of it. It's no fun doing in on Android because they don't have guidelines. This is basically just to get attention. In reality most users like Apple's App review system, it get rid of the obvious garbage.

Re:It fun to poke at Apple (3, Insightful)

xstonedogx (814876) | about 3 years ago | (#37395256)

...it get rid of the obvious garbage.

I'm in tears, here.

Re:It fun to poke at Apple (3, Insightful)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37395306)

lol yea sure it does

http://ifartmobile.com/ [ifartmobile.com]

there is a mission critical app that does not in any way constitute garbage

Re:It fun to poke at Apple (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about 3 years ago | (#37395394)

Hey, it's better than "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" and that cost $30 million dollars to make.

There's clearly a market for fart apps if someone read the script for that film and signed a cheque for that much.

It fun to out verb (3, Funny)

BlueScreenO'Life (1813666) | about 3 years ago | (#37395392)

It fun to out verb.

To, or not to. That the question.

Re:It fun to out verb (1)

troc (3606) | about 3 years ago | (#37395832)

*sigh* Have you spared a moment to consider whether the OP is a non-native English speaker?

Slashdot might be based in the US and thus be predominantly Anglo-centric but there are quite a few people on this Earth who aren't native English speakers. English could be this guy's 4th or 5th language for example.

I have no problem with the idea of poking fun at someone's language skills when they should know better (or indeed DO know better but are just being lazy) but assuming everyone speaks MY language at least as well as I do is, in this day and age, very naive.

Re:It fun to out verb (1)

BlueScreenO'Life (1813666) | about 3 years ago | (#37396378)

I have no problem with the idea of poking fun at someone's language skills when they should know better (or indeed DO know better but are just being lazy)

I hear you. I rarely poke fun at anyone's poor grammar, and when I do I am careful to make fun of specific sentences, not of the person.

The thing is I think this fellow may very well be a native speaker and the poor grammar may be caused by laziness or by typing on a small touchscreen with software that will check your spelling but not your grammar. I happen to be a non-native English speaker myself (second language). I read a lot of poor English written by learning speakers. I also read quite a bit of awful English written by careless native speakers. Both can be rather horrid, but in different ways. In this case I am not 100% certain - that text is too short. But for example, it is not typical of learning speakers to confuse "its" with "it's", especially when done inconsistently - the OP incorrectly writes "Its" but shortly thereafter (s)he correctly uses "it's". Non-native speakers rarely make that mistake because they usually learn written English before learning how to speak.

Re:It fun to poke at Apple (1)

wildstoo (835450) | about 3 years ago | (#37395996)

"Apple is just protecting us, their devoted users, from seeing things that we shouldn't see! They only do it out of the goodness of their hearts!"

streisand effect? (1)

devent (1627873) | about 3 years ago | (#37395260)

Would I ever heard anything from the game if Apply did not ban it from their phones?

Gosh, streisand effect much? (2)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 3 years ago | (#37395262)

I don't have an iPhone as I am not a moral vacuum and so would never have heard of this app normally but now I have... good job Apple. See that they are not completely evil, they want to make sure everyone is properly informed of just what you stand for when you buy an iPhone. Censorship, outsourcing of all production work from the US and turning it into slave labor instead.

Samsung could at this point make Android phones with real kitten fur and still take the moral high ground... I didn't just give somebody an idea did I?

Alright all your Apple cultists, time for you to loudly protest that: vote with your dollars, doesn't apply when the shiny is shiny enough but we should boycot X Y and Z because they are not hip. Oh and claiming that it ain't censorship if it is a company doing it is also a good way to protest (and show that you have no spine).

Ready? GO!

Harness Streisand Effects for free publicity (1, Interesting)

Happy Finish (722598) | about 3 years ago | (#37395416)

Golden age of app distribution over? Can't get your crummy apps seen or sold? Want armfuls of publicity for your company/cause?

1. Write an app that deliberately criticises the smartphone production process, dish out lots of dirt over alleged sweatshops, suicides etc.
2. Wait for the ban.
3. Pow! Instant news story! The tech press will lap it up! Anti-apple and Apple fanbois will whip it into a frenzy. Folks will relish being the first to spot a potential Streisand Effect.
4 ..
5. Profit*??

(*or at least tons of free exposure)

Re:Gosh, streisand effect much? (1, Flamebait)

jo_ham (604554) | about 3 years ago | (#37395452)

Yeah, so much censorship, deciding what to carry in a privately owned store. They're still free to promote their app in other ways, on different devices. Hell, they can even make it an HTML5 app for the iPhone. Nothing at all stopping them doing that. What they can't do is sell it/give it away in the App Store, since that's Apple's decision. Subtle, but there it is.

I take it all Android phones are made in the US, right? Not made in the same factories as iPhones? Right?

Not that it makes outsourcing any better, but assuming any Android handsets *are* made in the same factories, the workers that make them are being paid less than the ones building iPhones sitting just across from them. I'm not sure how Samsung can "take the moral high ground" on that one.

Either way, silly of Apple to pull the app - it was clearly what the developers were hoping would happen. From no name to "from the makers that got banned from the App Store...." in one easy move. Genius marketing move- one worthy of the sort of Machiavellian scheming that /. likes to accuse Apple of being the master of. How ironic.

Re:Gosh, streisand effect much? (1)

farnsworth (558449) | about 3 years ago | (#37396184)

I don't have an iPhone as I am not a moral vacuum and so would never have heard of this app normally but now I have... good job Apple. [...]

Alright all your Apple cultists, time for you to loudly protest that: vote with your dollars[...]

Ready? GO!

Does HTC fare any better in this regard? Is anyone higher rated by Greenepeace, EPA, etc, than Apple? Is there some magical bamboo and seaweed phone that is in the ballpark of an iPhone? Is there a better (and feasible) way to do this? Do tell.

Re:Gosh, streisand effect much? (2)

grouchomarxist (127479) | about 3 years ago | (#37396582)

Samsung also outsources some of its production. Some to China, some to India, some to other countries.

Is there a manufacturer left building phones or computers in the US? I don't know of one.

Is there a manufacturer left not doing some of its production in third-world countries?

Here's how you get it back on the App Store (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37395264)

Make it into an explicit political statement. That puts it into a realm of much more protected speech, because then Apple is absolutely trying to censor a free dialogue between citizens.

I suggest including references to abortion rights, the environment, same-sex marriage, and transgender relations.

That will put them on the spot.

Re:Here's how you get it back on the App Store (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about 3 years ago | (#37395490)

Why? Apple is under no obligation to assist you in your "free dialogue" - they are not the government; they are within their rights to choose to carry or not carry specific products in their store and can tell you to get lost if you say things they disagree with.

In the same way that you cannot force a local shop owner to put up posters that he doesn't agree with in his own store - you can put them up, but you have no recourse if he takes them down and bans you from his store.

Whether it's a smart move on Apple's part to give the developer all this free publicity is another matter, but in terms of what they *can* do, they are well covered.

Re:Here's how you get it back on the App Store (1)

vadim_t (324782) | about 3 years ago | (#37396432)

IMO, once you reach such a market share that you can control what a large part of the population can see or do, you should start being restricted by the first amendment as well.

I don't think it matters much who does the censoring. Whether it's the government or a corporation doesn't matter, the effect on the population does. It's just that back when the first amendment was written such control by a corporation wasn't on anybody's mind.

Re:Here's how you get it back on the App Store (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about 3 years ago | (#37396520)

That is a very slippery slope to start perching on, and not one really worth taking just because you don't happen to like the corporation in question.

It specifically refers to the government for a good reason.

Re:Here's how you get it back on the App Store (1)

vadim_t (324782) | about 3 years ago | (#37396700)

Slippery how? What problems do you see arising from it?

In my view, in regards to freedom of speech, it's the effective freedom of speech available to an individual that matters. Who restricts them isn't particularly important. Imagine that 99% of the software market is owned by Microsoft, who sets the condition that their software may not be used for disparaging them.

So what does it matter to you if the government doesn't prevent you from writing an article criticizing MS? Even if you are one of the 1% who uses software that doesn't fall under the limitation, good luck having it published somewhere, because the magazine or news program will inevitably require at least one piece of MS software and refuse to publish it for that reason.

In such a situation, Microsoft is effectively the censor, and your freedom is extremely theoretical.

Re:Here's how you get it back on the App Store (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about 3 years ago | (#37396806)

Ok, let's take your hypothetical onwards.

Let's say Microsoft runs some retail stores. I can now stand in them and talk to all their customers about anything I want, including criticising Microsoft.

Since they're now blocked by First Amendment issues they also cannot refuse to sell my piece of software in my store if I want them to (exactly like this app in Apple's app store that you are claiming Apple should not be able to remove due to First Amendment issues).

I could also get a job in Microsoft's stores, and then spend all day telling the customers how terrible MS is, and they cannot stop me because the First Amendment protects me in this situation. If they fire me for this I can sue them for their unconstitutional sacking.

Starting to see the issues now?

What happens if their marketshare drops? Are they suddenly free of the first amendment and then become free to decide what to carry in their store?

yuo Fail I7!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37395400)

to yet another EFNet, and aaply For trolls'

I can't disagree with this one... (0)

geogob (569250) | about 3 years ago | (#37395418)

This 'game', which seems only to be used as a propaganda platform, has seriously some questionable content, if not simply defamatory (which would make it illegal).

I'm all against arbitrary censorship and, I have to admit, this looks damn like it. After all, the people targeted by the propaganda are those having to play the censor role. But I think this app should have been taken down regardless of whom it 'targets'.

Then, watching the game video again, I wonder. Who writes an app like that. What kind of app developer does that? Why? I come to believe that this is just an elaborate troll (that we are feeding without end right now). It's someone who's intention was to put Apple in this difficult position. On one side Apple had probably no choice to removed it (and not only because of their EULA) and if they hadn't they might even have gotten themselves some legal trouble. On the other side, they look totally evil taking it down, regardless how stupid that app was (because, as I see here, critics of censor action are somewhat narrow sighted). Nice catch 22.

Re:I can't disagree with this one... (0)

slack_justyb (862874) | about 3 years ago | (#37395530)

I can't agree more. The game's "facts" are highly subjective. Also, I hate those stupid coltan people who argue that if you own something electronic then you support child slavery. Look the majority of Coltan comes from Brazil. In fact the Congo only produces 13% of the world's supply of Coltan without considering recycling (which provides 20% of the worlds supply might I add.)

I think the thing that makes me the hottest about it all is the fallacy in logic here. If a country has child slavery, is war torn, and has issues like "can't provide clean water to the population," then more than likely they aren't doing too well on the exporting crap out of their country. Anyway, I hate that Apple had a heavy hand in this, for the simple fact that it's one sided censorship, but the game sucked and the "facts" of the game are shaky at best.

Re:I can't disagree with this one... (1)

Slur (61510) | about 3 years ago | (#37395652)

Well it could be seen as a slanted and prejudicial kind of slander, to imply that Apple and others like them are predatory creatures playing on Human weakness. It could be say to be unrealistically insulting to Apple, its ilk, and to consumers as well in calling them unconscious dupes. If the app presented the alternative view as well, that some of us consumers may actually willingly and with awareness take part in the sharing of products with the caveats of advertisements, exploitation of workers, mining of rare minerals and all the other attendant issues, and in spite of it are still good-spirited individuals, merely having fun within this echelon... Well, Apple is fulfilling a dream of mankind, so why not at least give them the benefit of the doubt? It's a hard position for Apple to be in, having to acknowledge this product as plainly mean-spirited. But I suspect other mean-spirited apps have also been blocked - Dartboards with the faces of politicians and things like that... It's a fine line and a hard call, and maybe there's some flak deserved for coming down on a sketchy line. The app could be seen as kind of satirical, but it's possible the detailed content has a nastier spirit than the plain idea we have so far discussed.

Let me get you in touch with reality (1)

zarlino (985890) | about 3 years ago | (#37396382)

Your conspiracy theory is just ridiculous. People creating the game just meant to inform people in a funny way. Of course you can disagree (if you bothered to inform yourself first). I'm somewhat concerned by people like you who totally fail to see the dangers of letting Apple decide what can and cannot be published. It's time for new laws ensuring that owners of publishing platforms (in a broad sense) don't get to interfere with what Americans call 1st amendment rights.

Like those Bible apps... (2)

Slur (61510) | about 3 years ago | (#37395540)

VERY mean-spirited towards Evil. Whole cities destroyed. But perhaps this falls under the Parody Rule.

Another reason not to buy Apple products (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37395618)

Why the fuck should they be allowed to dictate what we can purchase? Are we children?

Brand protection (1)

Slur (61510) | about 3 years ago | (#37395670)

Apple has a brand to protect, in a similar manner to Disney, which sounds weird, but then you go to Times Square in 2011 and nothing will ever seem that weird again.

Re:Brand protection (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 3 years ago | (#37396372)

The problem is that they have to protect the brand from the truth.

It's a truth for the whole industry, sure. Other corporations would do exactly the same, but they don't have the needed walled garden, sure.

It's no surprise, sure.

Re:Another reason not to buy Apple products (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37396128)

iphone users are.

trendy little cult children that believe apple can do no wrong.

I'd want that cash cow protected too. It's just good business.

Love the headline (1)

Grail (18233) | about 3 years ago | (#37395694)

Pity it's off-base.

How about, "Apple bans game that portrays suicide & child slavery, and offers to collect donations outside the usual rules for the App Store."

But that doesn't have the same attention-pulling power, does it?

Re:Love the headline (1)

LaRainette (1739938) | about 3 years ago | (#37396918)

Yeah !!!!
How dare they remind us that our beloved iPhones are made by underpaid chinese suicidal workers who are at it 16hours a day, with minerals that are mined by 12 years old congoleses.
How is it moral huh ? to say it I mean. No really SAYING IT IS THE PROBLEM ! Because I was confortably numb not think about that in my couch and now I have not to give a shit actively...
idiot.

buy an android (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37396010)

Who in their right mind would want an iphone when you can't play quality games like this one?

This is so reassuring... (2)

LaRainette (1739938) | about 3 years ago | (#37396880)

So some eco-friendly hippies make an app that teaches people how smartphone pollute and Apple takes it back because it's offensive ?
I honnestly for the life of me still don't understand how anyone can have a good image of this company.
How do they get ANY support ? They are the douchiest mean f*cks and they have no ethics whatsoever.
When you get to the point where people saying your shit doesn't smell good enough to be put in their sink gets you mad, I think it's really time to see a psychiatrist. Hopefully Jobs departure will put an end to this decade of giant ego and utter douchery (but I wouldn't hold my breath)
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>