Blog Post

Tweetie Update Blocked by Apple for Twitter’s Potty-Mouth


Maybe Apple’s (s aapl) iPhone app review process is actually partially automated, because I can see no other good reason for having rejected the latest update of Tweetie (1.3) for objectionable content. The offending word (the F-bomb, in case you were wondering) would normally merit that kind of treatment, but considering the circumstances, it seems like a pretty ridiculous move on Apple’s part.

The word came up in a Twitter trends search, which, as those of us familiar with the popular micro-blogging service know, is well beyond the control of Tweetie’s developers. For those of you not familiar with Twitter or trends, when enough people mention the same thing, it shows up as a trending topic in Twitter’s search page, or in apps that use Twitter’s API. It would be a little like blaming Google for the contents of their search results.

By Apple’s logic, they should reject and remove every app that allows for Twitter searching or the viewing of Twitter trends. Which they haven’t. You can still get the existing version of Tweetie (1.2.1, App Store Link), which provides exactly the same feature, and no doubt showed exactly the same trending topics when the offensive word appeared.

This is exactly the kind of thing that worries me about Apple having as much power as it does in overseeing the App Store. Is the (brief) appearance of an offensive word in an open search really so much worse than tasteless fart and gun noise-making apps? Especially when the Tweetie update actually provides a large number of truly useful features and improvements, instead of just a single throwaway function that people will use only once and never again. Inject some intelligence into that approval process, Apple, before the App Store becomes as much of a joke as most of the apps it’s hawking.

15 Responses to “Tweetie Update Blocked by Apple for Twitter’s Potty-Mouth”

  1. Tweetie Updates blocked?
    That is crazy! There are hundreds and thousands of users using this application and apple blocked the updates??

    Seriously, apple corp should sort themselves out first…

  2. @Steven Rushing: Trust me, we’re not trying to be ANYTHING like TUAW. I’d consider us a failure if we somehow “replaced” TUAW. Plus, we did post this yesterday…so I do agree it’s “yesterdays” news. :)

    It looks like the app got approved literally minutes after we published this.

    Regardless, this is still a relevant post to spark another discussion on the issue of Apple using their heavy hand to control the App Store.

  3. I had a similar situation 2 days ago

    I have an application already in the App Store called Diggle that shows articles from Digg. I submitted a “lite” version for review but it was rejected because, at the time the review tested the app, there was swearing in one of Digg’s top stories.

    I’ve since resubmitted in the hope someone with a little common sense get’s to review it next time.

  4. robertsoakes

    Glad to see it got resolved. Most of the time I think that the App Store is a joke. Apple can’t receive enough bad publicity for stupidity like this. So far, it seems like they’ve rectified the concerns in almost every case, which ultimately helps the platform. And contrary to the hype, the platform needs some help. There really aren’t all that many very impressive apps for the iPhone/iPod Touch (excepting the games, perhaps). And there are some very simple things that I’ve been able to do with my Palm pilot for years that my iPod touch still can’t do (like sync notes and tasks). With no real competition (yet), it seems that the complaining from the media is the best hope to get these things resolved.