Experts Weigh In On Apple’s Censorship

After the recent puritan cull of 5000 near-adult apps from the app store, people have been scratching their heads over why it happened. One of the best analyses currently around is by John Gruber of Daring Fireball. His view is that it’s not about the money, and it’s not about censorship—it’s about creating a pleasant shopping environment. He argues that the sexy apps flooded the app store, blocking many legit ones, and that Apple cut them to make the store feel less skeevy. That’s why Sports Illustrated, Playboy, Victoria’s Secrets and—the recently reinstanted—Hooters apps are all allowed. They’re respectable brands. It’s a view that CrunchGear also endorses.

It’s also viewed as a worrying precedent, regardless of its intention. Brian X. Chen at Wired argues that this sort of control point over an entire platform is rather dangerous—especially with the iPad. If the iPad does become the de facto device that everyone gets their news on, what happens if a topic is printed through one of papers that people strongly object to? What happens if the complain to Apple over the written content in a magazine or newspaper? Will Apple become the editor of the world’s news? While certainly an extreme situation, it’s worth thinking about.

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