Apple Censors Dictionary App


Posted August 5, 2009 - By Jake Gaskill

Apple LogoApple’s iPhone app approval process is notorious for being inconsistent and labyrinthine, but this is just too much. Daring Fireball recounts the approval process that the developers of the iPhone dictionary app, Ninjawords, underwent, and it’s totally insane.

You see, the dictionary app lets users look up words, words that are in the dictionary. Did I mention we’re talking about a dictionary here? Ok. So long story short, Apple rejected the app because it contained “objectionable content,” aka WORDS THAT ARE IN THE DICTIONARY! Better still, the app was specifically designed to only display “vulgar” words if users searched for them. In other words, simply typing “fuc” would not bring up “f***.” So clearly Apple reviewers sought out the offending words (again, words that are in the dictionary) to prove just how vulgar and disgusting the dictionary truly is.

The saddest part is that in order to finally be approved, not only did the developers have to remove all of the “illicit content,” the app had to receive a 17+ rating. And you thought video games were a ticking time bomb just waiting to destroy the world’s youths. There’s a dictionary in every classroom in the world, and given that kids usually don’t turn 17 until 11th or 12th grade, that’s a whole mess of kids who are at risk of being exposed to the debauchery and filth housed within one of the most common books on the planet.

In addition to all of the obvious word that didn’t make it past the Apple censors, several words were omitted despite having totally non-offensive meanings. Here are a few dirty, dirty examples in dirty, dirty context:

  • “Could you hand me that screw, please?”
  • “Man is but an ass if he go about t’expound this dream.”
  • “And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.”
  • “Snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”

Hopefully, you were able to spot the "offending" words. You’ll know if you did if you’ve lost all sense of rational thought, and are now determined to watch the world burn. Seriously though, Apple really needs to get its act together on this. Sure it has every right to censor and control every piece of content that it distributes, but when it involves something as common, educational, historic, and culturally significant as a dictionary, then you’re getting into some seriously troubling territory.

Has Apple finally gone to far?


Tags: Apple, iPhone, Tech
Apple Censors Dictionary App


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