Yesterday, Apple was ordered by a judge in Brazil to not only pull the anonymous social networking app Secret from the App Store, but also to remotely kill the app from user’s devices that already have it installed.
9to5Mac now reports that Apple has complied with the ruling by removing the Secret app from the App Store.
Apple had 10 days to comply with the ruling or face a fine of £30,000 each subsequent day until it was pulled. The report claims that Apple has cited section 22.1 of the App Store Guidelines as the reason for the removal, which says:
Apps must comply with all legal requirements in any location where they are made available to users. It is the developer’s obligation to understand and conform to all local laws.
The anonymous social network which allows users to share information or feelings anonymously has been very popular. It’s a place where you can find all sorts of unexpected personal confessions and gossip from around the world. However, it has recently come under fire for giving a platform to those who would abuse it for anonymous bullying.
If you try to access the direct iTunes link for Secret, you now get an error message tell you “The item you’ve requested is not currently available in the Brazilian App Store.”
It remains to be seen if Apple will comply with the second part of the ruling, which is to remotely remove the app from devices that have it installed. Apple does have the capability to remove apps remotely, but it hasn’t used the remote kill-switch feature as far as I can remember.
Bullying can have tragic consequences, so it is important to deal with the menace, but as some readers have pointed out that instead of ordering the removal of the app, the judge should have ordered Secret to add a feature that allows users to report bullying so the such users can be banned, or even be reported to local authorities.