Apple blasted for removing ‘wrong’ apps in gambling crackdown

10 August 2018

Various developers have accused Apple of wrongly removing their apps from its ‘App Store’ as part of the tech giant’s clampdown on gambling content.

Apple contacted certain developers to inform them their apps would be taken down to “reduce fraudulent activity... and comply with government requests to address illegal online gambling activity”.

However, the companies in question have taken to social media to stress that their apps are not related to gambling.

The affected apps include Polish app iMagazine, gif-sharing service Gifferent and a platform that allows users to send clips of Xbox games to friends.

Apple recently began dropping certain gambling apps from the App Store in response to a request from the Norwegian Gaming Authority (NGA).

The NGA had contacted Apple to say that unlicensed apps must be removed in Norway in order to comply with national regulation and to support its ongoing effort to tackle problem gambling.

However, it appears that the recent removals apply to the App Store worldwide.

Simon Stovring, a Copenhagen-based developer behind the Gifferent app, 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.”

Wojtek Pietrusiewicz, co-owner of iMagazine, said the app has been “caught in the crossfire”, saying the reason for its removal may be that users can access the wider internet via the app and potentially click through to gambling content.

Niall Watchorn, who developed the Xbox clips app, said it was “very frustrating” as the app had “just started gaining traction”.

Some of the affected apps have started to come back online, including iMagazine and the Xbox-themed app.