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What to Do When Apple Deems Your App ‘Controversial’

The post was originally published on The Next Web.

Close-up of iPhone 4s screen with iTunes and App Store

Close-up of iPhone 4s screen with iTunes and App Store

Some people can’t handle criticism, but as it turns out, some companies can’t either. Take Apple as an example. When it comes to apps that speak seriously and openly about social issues, many developers find themselves locked out of the App Store with loads of free time to reflect on their mistakes. App developers are familiar with the app bible – Apple Principles. And yet, they sometimes tend to focus on the terms listed throughout the document without a fundamental note: Critical content? No, thanks. To be precise, the company claims the following:

“We view Apps differently from books or songs that we don’t manage. If you want to criticize a religion, write a book. If you want to describe sex, write a book or a song or create a Health App. It can get complicated, but we’ve decided not to allow certain types of content in the App Store.”

This paragraph, along with the chapter that prohibits any controversial content (ironically, the content itself is quite controversial), hinders app developers who want to use their apps to do their best. saying something. It’s important to learn how one can avoid what Apple considers explosive content and how to get Apple’s approval, even after the initial disapproval. For example, several applications were rejected on the grounds that they mocked a public figure: Pulitzer Prize-winner Mark Fiore, which included a caricature of Michaele and Tareq Salahi, House gatebreakers. White, interrupting President Obama’s speech. After countless criticisms and some negative media coverage, Apple decided to approve the app. Apple’s low tolerance led the company to reject an app submitted by Start Mobile, simply to display the famous “HOPE” image of Obama (there seems to be a pattern here). In this case, perhaps there was a mistake on the part of Apple and the company withdrew its decision. We believe you can learn a lot from Apple’s mistakes regarding the way the company thinks. Here, we learn how careful Apple is when it comes to political content, specifically content that focuses on a specific person. Another valuable lesson that doesn’t just concern the tech world: media outrage works. Miraculously, in all of the cases outlined above, right before Apple decided to approve the app, the information was already out and made headlines in the media. In some cases, Apple has chosen to reject games that contain content that criticizes and speaks out about social injustice. A game created by Auroch Digital that focuses on the horrors of the Syrian civil war, was rejected because of this important content, as well as because it was about a specific country. Apple prohibits the definition of “enemies” in games based on criteria identified with a certain country or race. While this is a more legitimate criterion, the execution and results can make it a bit silly. Another game called “Attack the Pacific”, based on World War II battles, was disqualified for being discriminatory because it featured the flags of countries as part of the World War II. game.

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So how can you make sure Apple doesn’t send you a book instead of an app?

iphone coffee tea

1. Don’t go there If controversial or political content isn’t essential to your app, you should probably just leave it on the cutting room floor. Satire is fine, but Apple’s disapproval is not. If you’re not entirely sure about your content selection, reach out to experts for advice. 2. Make noise As we mentioned, nearly every time Apple makes a decision to decline, some media coverage and social media drama is part of the story. Don’t get angry, be social. It just might work. 3. Please An important step in your resubmission process will be… resubmitting the application. We’ve submitted products that were initially rejected and that’s it! It was approved even though we never actually made any changes to the product. Remember, there are people, not just half-eaten apples, on the other side. Give an explanation of why your app is still within the guidelines and you might be in luck. 4. Don’t stalk Whatever you do, don’t go directly to your reviewer. Once, one of our customers submitted an application that included Facebook Connect. This feature allows developers to know exactly when the app is being reviewed and by whom. When the app was rejected, the developer approached his reviewer through his Facebook profile, a move that was not appreciated. Now be careful, if you step over the limit, you may find yourself expelled from the developer program. Considering the number of users and the huge amount of time invested in using apps, especially games, Apple holds an unbelievable position of power. The decision to remove controversial topics will interest both users and developers. As marketers, we know that while provocations can get you noticed by the media and the public, they come at a heavy cost. Think carefully if you are willing to pay the price.

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