Apple is not accepting coronavirus tracking apps that aren’t from recognized institutions

Apple is rejecting coronavirus tracking apps that aren’t from recognized institutions like doctors, hospitals, or governments, app developers say.

CNBC reports that searches for “coronavirus” or “COVID-19″ on Apple’s App Store reveals few apps geared around the outbreak and almost no spam. A search for the same terms on Google’s app store returns no results.

coronavirus tracking apps. Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE website
Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE website
Kif Leswing for CNBC:

Four independent developers told CNBC that Apple rejected their apps, which would allow people to see stats about which countries have confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Some of these apps used public data from reliable sources like the World Health Organization (WHO) to create dashboards or live maps.

One developer said an Apple employee explained over the phone that anything related to the coronavirus must be released by an official health organization or government. Another developer got a written response that “apps with information about current medical information need to be submitted by a recognized institution,” according to a screenshot seen by CNBC.

The restriction appears to be working, as search results show few apps about the outbreak and no obvious spam. But it could also reduce the availability of software that would enable iPhone users to track the outbreak, and raise fairness questions about who is allowed to develop apps for iPhones.

MacDailyNews Take: Thank you, Apple, for working to prevent the spread of misinformation by not accepting coronavirus tracking apps that aren’t from recognized institutions. iPhone users who want to track the outbreak, fire up Safari and go here. Mac and iPad users go here.


    1. It is undeniable that Apple needs to stop disinformation with whatever crude tools it has. Unfortunately Mother Cook’s walled garden has no truth detector and very poor source verification tools. Apple News can’t even do a halfassed job flagging opinion and unverified statements. How much should we trust the company that sells a voice assistant adept at nothing but reading Wikipedia pages?

      Freedom of speech we now know doesn’t halt corporate censorship. Every modern info tech / software / media company has lawyered up to ensure they can censor anyone they choose on their closed networks. So if Apple is going to get serious about being some kind of self-proclaimed authority then they are going to have to get busy and grow a spine when they fess up about their methodology. What medical experts did Apple hire to determine the good apps from the bad? Does Apple fact check the misleading ads too? Otherwise Apple will be constantly playing whack a mole with bad actors while the bad actors already grandfathered in continue to spread their FUD.

      If Apple cared about stopping the spread of disinformation it would have axed FaceFsck & Twitter long ago.

  1. “Freedom of speech we now know doesn’t halt corporate censorship.”

    So very true, but there’s a very easy solution, and it protects corporations too. You can certainly decide what is allowed on your own property. Here it is censorship because Apple decides what’s allowed on the property of others.

    It’s only censorship because there is no other store permitted. This should not be possible.

    I say this for (against) the defenders of the Walled Garden. Here we have Apple in one hand constantly succumbing to China’s demands, and prohibiting alternative means of distribution on the other.

    Utter bullshit!

    If there were other stores Apple could both carry what they wished in their own store AND not censor.

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