Josh Begley has been trying to get his app onto Apple’s App Store for about five years now. It’s not a crazy, violent game or a risqué hookup app, it’s just a very simple notification tool that delivers an alert to the user’s phone whenever a drone flown by the United States military attacks a target. It scrapes news feeds for the information and then pushes an alert along with a map marker and any confirmed details about the strike, including things like the target, how many people were killed, and sometimes a bit of additional context. It’s been rejected a total of 12 times. Today, it got accepted. Four hours later, it got rejected.
The app, called Metadata+, is a free download and does nothing other than its primary function of reporting news about US drone strikes. Its creator, Begley, wrote about the app’s status for The Intercept, where it asks “Do we want to be as connected to our foreign policy as we are to our smartphones?” Begley argues that the answer is no, and given the app’s long road it’s easy to see how he’s come to that conclusion.
Metadata+ has actually been accepted to the App Store before, in 2014, where it resided for about a year and amassed something in the neighborhood of 50,000 downloads, according to Begley. However, the app then fell victim to the same rejection that plagued Begley’s first several submissions, with Apple deeming the app “excessively objectionable or crude.”
Today, Begley scored a long awaited approval for the app once again. It lasted all of about four and a half hours on the App Store before Apple pulled it again. “If anything about the app is ‘excessively objectionable or crude,’ perhaps it’s the airstrikes themselves,” Begley says.