Apple has been accused of removing the “wrong” apps from the App Store in a supposed gambling crackdown.
On Twitter, several developers claimed that their apps had been removed from Apple’s store despite having no connection to gambling. Some of the removed apps included Polish magazine app iMagazine, gif-sharing platform Gifferent and an Apple Watch app called WatchPlay, which allows users to search and start YouTube videos from their Apple Watch.
As Apple removed the affected apps from their store, they reportedly sent developers the following message:
“In order to reduce fraudulent activity on the App Store and comply with government requests to address illegal online gambling activity, we are no longer allowing gambling apps submitted by individual developers. This includes both real money gambling apps as well as apps that simulate a gambling experience.
“As a result, this app has been removed from the App Store. While you can no longer distribute gambling apps from this account, you may continue to submit and distribute other types of apps to the Apple Store.”
Our newsstand/news/magazine app just got removed from sale from the App Store 24 hours after our 3.0 update was approved. Reason given: gambling/fraudulent activity. We publish a magazine — nothing to do with gambling or fraud at all. ???????????????? https://t.co/ewu3mE5FG5 pic.twitter.com/vaKtLthvkW
— Wojtek Pietrusiewicz (@morid1n) August 9, 2018
The statement ended by saying “only verified accounts from incorporated business entities may submit gambling pages for distribution on the App Store”.
The recent removals seem to have affected app developers all over the world, though many are now coming back online. According to MacRumors, the reason many of the apps were taken down was because the ban currently applies to any apps allowing users “unrestricted web access”.
Simon Stovring, a developer behind the app Gifferent, told the BBC: “Apple says these apps contain gambling but they don’t reveal how they have detected this. It seems like an unfortunate but honest mistake.”
Just last week we reported that Apple had agreed to remove unlicensed gambling apps from its App Store at the request of the Norwegian Gaming Authority.