A couple of days ago, Apple Inc. banned an app called “Phone Story” from the App Store four days after its release by Molleindustria, which has produced similarly satirical apps such as “Operation PedoPriest”. Similar to the controversial McDonald’s Video Game in style, Phone Story lets the players in on the dark and immoral behind the scenes of the smartphones they bought.
The player can force workers in Congo at gunpoint to mine for materials needed to assemble a smartphone, then force oppressed workers to work in twelve to thirty six hour shifts (a heavy allusion to Foxconn’s factories that manufacture parts for Apple and have had a string of at least 25 workers committing suicide), and can “save” workers jumping off the roofs of the said factories (again, a reference to how most suicides at Foxconn went).
There are two other mini games in addition to the above “Coltan” and “Suicide” minigames, titled “eWaste” and “Obsolescene” which are all designed to “educate” the player or at least raise awareness of corporate abuses.
After supposedly getting reports of the unflattering app, Apple decided to move in and ban the app from the App Store justifying the ban by citing a couple of separate violations of the iOS app creation terms Molleindustria carried out by releasing the app:
1) Code 15.2 explicitly states that depictions of child abuse are not allowed.
2) Code 16.1 states that “objectionable or crude” content is not allowed.
3) Code 21.1 and Code 21.2 state that the promise of handing over a portion of the money made from the app to charities is not allowed.
Which all make you wonder how Apple missed essentially 90% of the Adult Swim apps (surely cutting up people with a pizza cutter in “Amateur Surgeon” is crude?) or for that matter, half of the App Store that pretty much violates Code 16.1 and Code 15.2.
And as for Code 21.1 and Code 21.2, Molleindustria had promised to give 30%, (70% converted to paying the bills and salaries of its workers) of the profit made from the app by donating it to various charities and organizations.
Not bad right?
Well, according to Apple, it’s not cool trying to help the world even with a single measly cent made from the app.
Before Apple pulled the plug on the app, Molleindustria was given a compromise:
- Make a new version that removes the reality of the game (i.e. forced child labor) or simply get banned.
Molleindustria chose the latter with dignity and moved the app to the Android Market where it’s currently being sold for $1 and made available for Android devices and even jail broken Apple iPhones/iTouches.