Apple pulled Damus from the App Store in China; absurd grounds

Apple pulled Damus from the App Store yesterday, with the developers being informed that the Nostr app “includes content that is illegal in China.”

Apple had previously rejected the app from all its App Stores, and for the same nonsensical reason…

Brief Nostr explainer

Nostr is an open protocol that can be used to build a wide variety of services, but the primary application right now is the ability to use it to effectively create your own Twitter-like social media network.

Most social media networks are of course created and controlled by tech companies. You need an account, and they get to decide what can and cannot be posted. They also get to collect whatever data they like.

Nostr is different, because nobody owns it or controls it. Anyone can effectively broadcast a message that is relayed to either your friends or everyone, as you like. You can find a more detailed explanation here.

Damus app

Damus is an iPhone app that lets you use Nostr, with a Twitter-like look and feel.

Apple rejected the app multiple times, applying the app review guidelines that would apply to a social networking service. In reality, all Damus does is provide access to Nostr feeds, so it would be more accurate to consider it akin to a web browser, with the developers having no control over, or responsibility for, the content of those feeds.

Damus finally made it into the App Store this week.

Apple pulled Damus in China

Apple has now pulled Damus from the App Store in China. Damus developer William Casarin posted a screengrab of the noticewhich claimed it included illegal content.

We are writing to notify you that your application, per demand from the CAC (Cyberspace Administration of China), will be removed from the China App Store because it includes content that is illegal in China, which is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines:

Apps must comply with all legal requirements in any location where you make them available (if you’re not sure, check with a lawyer). We know this stuff is complicated, but it is your responsibility to understand and make sure your app conforms with all local laws, not just the guidelines below. And of course, apps that solicit, promote, or encourage criminal or clearly reckless behavior will be rejected.

According to the CAC, your app violates the Provisions on the Security Assessment of Internet-based Information Services with the Attribute of Public Opinions or Capable of Social Mobilization.

Casarin posted it with the single comment “Shocking,” and said that he would be framing it.

9to5Mac’s Take

The claim that Damus – or any Nostr client – ​​contains illegal content is, of course, nonsense. The app doesn’t contain any content at all. It would be like banning Safari because it can be used to access the websites of terrorist organizations.

But as Casarin’s tongue-in-cheek comment indicates, the move is entirely unsurprising. The Chinese government wants to have full control over the information its citizens get to see, and its fear here is that Nostr is something that it cannot control, either directly or by threatening the company that runs it – because there is no company that runs it .

Apple is, as usual, caught in the middle here. Its dependence on China as both a manufacturing base and its second-largest market means that it daren’t risk the government sanctions that might follow if it chose to ignore any of the diktats it receives.

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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