Apple rejects congressional candidate’s app for ‘defamatory’ statements about opponent

aridavid And here’s the next political Apple app rejection hot potato: California Republican congressional candidate Ari David states on the blog “Yes, But, However!” that Apple rejected his campaign’s iPhone application because it made “defamatory statements” about his opponent, Henry Waxman.

What kind of defamatory statements? The usual political mudslinging that nobody would bat an eye at were it aired in a TV spot. My opponent voted FOR [legislation which would end the world as we know it] and AGAINST [legislation that would bring about the Second Coming of Christ].

The exact content isn’t important, given that it’s exactly the same sort of thing you’d see from either party’s candidate. David claims, “As you can see not only are none of the statements defamatory, they are all factual,” but I suspect Waxman would disagree.

While personally I think the world could use a bit less political mudslinging from either side, David does have a point when he wonders whether Democratic candidates came in for the same treatment. If Apple rejects political apps from one party, it had surely better apply that treatment evenly to the other one as well.

I wonder if Apple has any idea what it’s getting into with this? Rejecting political cartoonists’ apps is one thing, but rejecting politicians’ apps might just be a good way to draw some unwelcome congressional attention.

6 Comments on Apple rejects congressional candidate’s app for ‘defamatory’ statements about opponent

  1. Republicans usually believe a business should be able to do whatever it wants with as few restrictions and regulations as possible. Why can’t Apple do whatever it wants then?

    It amusing how politicians can say with a straight face that they will uphold this or that ideal when elected but contort those same ideals whenever it benefits them.

  2. A cynic would say that this app violating the rules was intentional since it would have been so easy to NOT bash their opponent in the app and just provide links to a website with the same material.

    Or it could easily have been a web app that wouldn’t have to go thru the App Store approval process.

    This politician is going to get more exposure and publicity from this app rejection than they could possibly pay for. Assuming this ‘news’ survives the weekend news cycle.

    Isn’t there an Obama app?

    The iTunes App Store is a store. The First Amendment doesn’t apply to them.

    You can’t complain to the FCC or anyone else if they reject an app that doesn’t meet THEIR standards.

    Also, the “Equal Time” rule (see: US Communications Act of 1934) only applies to tv/radio broadcasters which the iTunes store isn’t.

    The only reason Congress would get involved is if they think their constituents won’t see it for the distraction it would be. This isn’t the kind of thing that would get them votes.

  3. I’m glad they rejected this, but they rejected it for the wrong reason. The correct reason is “This is a pointless and stupid app.”

    There’s no reason to have an app for something that’s basically just a recreation of what a website would do. I don’t know why it’s suddenly popular to have an app for blogs (like gizmodo or engadget), because they offer nothing that you can’t get from going to the website. Apple should start rejecting these kinds of pointless apps.

  4. Ben, I disagree. Apple should allow any app (since the iPod/iPhone is a closed system, and you can only download apps through their store) and leave it up to the individual user whether they feel like downloading it or not.

    The only valid reason to decline an app should be if it is malware or spyware.

  5. They’re not a broadcast network subject to equal carrier rules. They can select politicians to support quite arbitrarily if they choose. Whether they should is another matter.

  6. I’m happy to see Apple reject crap like this. Honestly, as a Canadian I’ve never understood the appeal of US-style attack ads, and the last thing I want is crap like that polluting the app store.

    If Apple does change it’s mind and allows this stuff in the future, I hope it stays off the Canadian app store. This is one time where I’m for geographic restrictions.

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