Censorship 101- The Apple Primer

On September 8, 2008

I’m not a fan of censorship, but there was something that was particularly bugging me about Apple’s decision to reject the apps "iFartz" and "Pull My Finger" based upon the argument that they are of “limited utility”.

 As TUAW points out Koi Pond (both an App Store and personal favorite) has little or no more “utility”. As they put it–

While "Pull My Finger" would probably not meet "Koi Pond" levels of user reach, it could have a solid audience. It’s a simple, stupid joke app but it’s the kind of simple, stupid joke app that a lot of people would download and use because people like simple, stupid joke apps.

So let’s agree that “limited utility” was just a convenient way of saying- “We don’t want fart apps in the App Store”.

Now I’m not particularly draw to that kind of stupid, sophomoric humor. I don’t find it funny and I would not buy either of those apps- not even to review for this site. Moreover, it is Apple’s right not to carry particular apps, I suppose. It is their store and they can choose to carry or not carry whatever apps they want.

Unlike a Public Library (where I have a huge issue when a small group tries to impose their standards of censorship on the entire populous) the App Store belongs to Apple and they can choose what they do with it. (It is why, in part, no one said "Boo" when Apple clearly stated right away that pornographic apps would not be allowed.)

So Apple rejecting certain apps doesn’t really bug me. There are things that bug me about the decision, though.

First, Apple should come clean as to why they rejected the apps instead of offering some lame excuse that sounds a tad bit more P.C.

Second, Apple should, I believe, offer developers clear guidelines ahead of time instead of applying unknown standards when they see fit. (They don’t HAVE to do so but it would certainly show respect to, and a sense of partnership with, developers.)

Third, (and this is the thing that was bugging me but I just couldn’t put my finger on until today) If Apple is going to pull two apps because they are a bit on the stupid and crass side then they should also pull…

Have you SEEN the zipper scene or the  schtick with hair gel??????

I mean, I have never laughed as hard as I did when I saw it… talk about crass!!!!

Apple- if you are going to play daddy (or mommy) at least do so with some consistency.


Better yet, adopt an open, clear, public rating system and let people make their own choices.