Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Facecharm Rejected From the App Store

Filipe Espósito (tweet):

His idea was to allow users to send anonymous messages, not directly to each other, but through a third person who would intermediate the conversation. Basically, like when you send a message to someone through another person, but now in a digital way.

The app was submitted to the App Store review process on January 9, 2020, and the first rejection came a week later. Apple has argued apps that allow anonymous messages and calls are not appropriate for the App Store. Martin thought the idea of the app might not have been clear to the testers it since the app works based on mutual friends, so the messages are not entirely anonymous.

Even so, he was intrigued by Apple’s first response, as there are other apps on the App Store that allow users to send anonymous messages. The developer made some interface changes, and he then sent the app back to Apple, but it was rejected again.

Martin Otyeka:

You can forward an iMessage but the recipient is not informed that you didn’t author the message, and the original author is not identified.

You can forward messages on WhatsApp but they explicitly tell the receiver that it was “Forwarded” implying that you are not the original author.


A representative from the App Review Board called once again to explain the rationale behind my last rejection. I told them that Facecharm complies with all the requirements of Guideline 1.2 and asked if they can point to a specific guideline that I was breaking. I did not receive a direct response, only told that the App Review guidelines can’t possibly list all the reasons why an app can be rejected. They reasoned that the concept behind the app was “new”, the behavior “inappropriate” and that I should instead make the app like “every other messaging app where users communicate without a 3rd party”. In other words, don’t innovate–just conform to existing paradigms.

Damien Petrilli:

Step 1. Tell the developers to do an app like everybody else

Step 2. Reject it again because it’s “too similar with other Apps” and thus “doesn’t add any value”

3 Comments RSS · Twitter

> "I did not receive a direct response, only told that the App Review guidelines can’t possibly list all the reasons why an app can be rejected."

We can read a lot of stories like this one that would tend to demonstrate that "The Little Kingdom" has become "The Big Autocracy".

But, at the same time, I don't get it why, in 2020, 3rd party developers still believe they will receive a direct (and honest) response explaining why an app is being rejected.

Haven't they read the sign at the door of the App Store that says "Sorry, We're a Closed Platform"?

The final line of Petrilli's tweet wasn't quoted, but may be our only way out of this mess.

Time for these developers to realize 90% of the world does not use iOS. Apple does not care about any individual small developer so complaining publicly sometimes works, then again sometimes it doesn't. Either they cut bait and migrate to the other platform or suck it up and realize they remain at the mercy of a developer hostile company. I really wish there was a viable third party mobile platform out there, so much room for better ecosystem management.

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