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Apple removes iOS app chronicling victims of US drone strikes

Apple has pulled an app from the iOS App Store, Metadata+, claiming that its documentation of deaths in U.S. military drone strikes is "content that many users would find objectionable."

Image Credit: Gawker

Image Credit: Gawker


The app was created by data artist and research editor for The Intercept Josh Begley and only used maps and text to record each strike, U.K. publication The Guardian reported on Wednesday. In its rejection notice, Apple did not explain how the app might be offensive.

The company appears to have had trouble with the app since its inception though, as it was blocked five times under the name Drones+, and only accepted in early 2014 once its name switched. It's not clear, though, why Apple would suddenly reject it again after leaving it on the store for over a year. Another Begley app that records drone strikes, Ephemeral+, was pulled earlier today.

Speaking with Gawker, Begley said that Metadata+ should still work for people who have already installed it.

Apple's review guidelines are ambiguous in their definition of "objectionable" material, which can make it difficult to know what will be rejected. The company has infamously opposed apps as a means of expression however, blocking apps about controversial topics like sweatshops and the Syrian Civil War. The company may see Metadata+ as inherently critical of U.S. military policy, even though its alerts don't typically comment on the guilt or innocence of the dead.