Apple Accepted An App That Tracks U.S. Drone Strikes, Only To Remove It Several Hours Later

Metadata+ has been repeatedly removed from the app store due to “excessively objectionable or crude content.”

Five years ago, app developer Josh Begley created a simple iPhone app called Metadata+, which sends "a push notification every time a U.S. drone strike was reported in the news." After 12 rejections on the premise of “excessively objectionable or crude content," Apple has accepted the app on Tuesday morning, only to remove it again after a few hours.

ADVERTISEMENT

According to Begley in a report by The Intercept, "the app both contains metadata about English-language news reports, and it refers to the basis on which most drone strikes are carried out." It's been in and out of the app store, and subject to Apple's approval process, after it was created in 2012. Upon its first acceptance in 2014, Metadata+ was downloaded by more than 50,000 people over the course of a year, according to the report.

"Because the particulars of the drone wars are scant, we only have ‘metadata’ about most of these strikes — perhaps a date, the name of a province, maybe a body count," Begley wrote. "Absent documentary evidence or first-person testimony, there isn’t much narrative to speak of."

"With a president who plans to lift the Obama-era constraints on drone strikes even further, declaring parts of Yemen and Somalia as 'areas of active hostilities,' I’m glad that Apple has decided to stop blocking a news app," he added.

This post was updated on March 28 at 2:50pm to reflect more changes.

March 28, 2017
Apple Accepted An App That Tracks U.S. Drone Strikes, Only To Remove It Several Hours Later