Apple in Hot Water for Approving iPhone App that ‘Cures’ Homosexuality [Update]
Cue questionable “there’s an app for that” jokes: Apple is known for exercising an iron fist in determining which applications are approved for its App Store, but it gave its seal of approval to an iPhone app that claims to cure homosexuality through prayer and religious practice. The app is made by Exodus International, a controversial group that lists its mission as “Mobilizing the body of Christ to minister grace and truth to a world impacted by homosexuality.” Apple’s approval is featured prominently in Exodus International’s press release for the app: Exodus notes that it received a 4+ rating from Apple, meaning that it contains no objectionable material.
Try telling that to the more than 90,000 people who have signed a petition on Change.org asking Apple to remove the app.
Update: Apple has removed the app. Addressed to Steve Jobs, the petition calls the app “hateful and bigoted,” and refers to its targeting of children as particularly “dangerous”:
Apple’s app guidelines released in September last year detailed rules on how the company decides what can and cannot be sold through its store: “Any app that is defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited, or likely to place the targeted individual or group in harms way will be rejected,” the company states.
Apple doesn’t allow racist or anti-Semitic apps in its app store, yet it is giving the green light to an app targeting vulnerable LGBT youth with the message that their sexual orientation is a “sin that will make your heart sick” and a “counterfeit.” This is a double standard that has the potential for devastating consequences.
One counterargument has it that even if the app is hateful and offensive, platform providers like Apple shouldn’t be in the business of policing content in the first place: One Hacker News commenter writes that “Trying to ‘cure’ gay people and recruit them into a religious organization and culture is not as offensive to me as the practice of a central big-brother type authorizing and deleting programs on a computer that I own.” But then, that’s the business that Apple has already decided to take part in, and if it’s going to treat some apps that way, there’s no reason Exodus International’s app shouldn’t be held to the same standard.
(via Silicon Republic)