BJMendelson.com

Author. Speaker. Former Mall Santa.

What Exactly is Apple’s App Store Policy on COVID-19 Misinformation?

I sent the following to Apple’s PR team this morning, in light of Elon Musk’s tweet:

Hi Trevor and Shane,

My name is B.J. Mendelson, and I am the author of “Social Media Is Bullshit” from St. Martin’s Press and other books. I’m currently working on a new one called, “How To Protect Yourself from Fascists and Weirdos” and wanted to get in touch.

Could you help clarify something for me?

The App Store Developer Guidelines are a little vague on content that may be objecitonable to users and create a poor user experience. It says:

“We strongly support all points of view being represented on the App Store, as long as the apps are respectful to users with differing opinions and the quality of the app experience is great. We will reject apps for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line. What line, you ask? Well, as a Supreme Court Justice once said, “I’ll know it when I see it”. And we think that you will also know it when you cross it.”

(Source: https://developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines/)

So, I want to ask:

Yesterday, on December 11th, Elon Musk tweeted the following:

Elon Musk's tweet says "My Pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci"

Source: https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1601894132573605888

In 2022, over 250,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.*

This Tweet from Musk was liked over a million times.

Given that Musk owns and operates Twitter, I’d like to know if Apple would consider the promotion of anti-vaccine propaganda as a violation of its App store policies, given that this sort of misinformation from Musk can lead to the deaths of many more people, not only here in the states but around the world.

Can you help clarify Apple’s position on Elon Musk’s Twitter?

I can be reached at this address or by phone at (removed). Thank you for your time.

-BJ

***

I’ll let you know if I hear anything from Apple, but I encourage my fellow journalists to ask the same question.

Additional Reading

Quarter of U.S. covid deaths were probably preventable with vaccination (Washington Post)

*Total # of Deaths in 2022 can be found by subtracting total deaths since 1/1/22 from the total deaths reported in the US. So far, 267,784 people in the US have died from COVID-19 in the US in 2022.

I missed this in my initial email to Apple, but Musk later doubled down on more anti-vaccination, tin-foil hat BS later that same day:

Source: https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1602113254360162304

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