No update for you naughty Twitterers, Apple says

Apple reportedly rejects update of popular Twitter client for iPhone and iPod Touch due to an offensive word found in Twitter's Trends.

Since this report was published, Apple has decided to approve the app for the App Store. Read the updated story here .

Updated at 3:10 p.m. PDT with comment from Tweetie developer.

Remember the time your mom withheld your dessert because you said a bad word? Apple is doing something along those lines, with one major difference: it's because a bad word has been heard in the neighborhood.

Tweetie won't be getting an update, at least not right now, due to the Trends report above. twitpic

According to iLounge, Apple has rejected version 1.3 of Tweetie, the popular Twitter client application for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The reason? An offensive word appeared in Twitter's Trends data.

Somewhat similar to Google Trends, Twitter's Trends is a list of the most frequently used topics or words on Twitter at any given moment. This means this live list of words/topics changes constantly (I checked it just now and the offensive word--which starts with an "F," by the way--has gone). Yet, somehow it still bothers Apple enough to take action.

It seems that Apple, as a matter of policy, does not comment on the approval process for Apple applications. We have, however, contacted the company, and will update this post if we hear back.

In an e-mail to CNET News, however, Tweetie developer Loren Brichter said Apple quoted this part of the company's guidelines as a reason for the decision:

"Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive, or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple's reasonable judgement may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod Touch users."

"The question then becomes whether is it an individual app's responsibility to censor everything it gets from the Internet," Brichter said. "Twitter themselves create the "top trends" list; Tweetie just displays it. The consensus is pretty much that it would be ridiculous to expect that.

"At the same time," the developer added, "this could have been just a goof on Apple's part. The App Store is still very young, they're working out the kinks."

Here's the long list of improvements in Tweetie 1.3 that all you naughty Twitterers with iPhones and iPod Touches are gonna miss out on--at least for now:

  • Post pictures with Mobypicture and yfrog (in addition to TwitPic)
  • New "Link" button to add to Instapaper faster, and repost individual links
  • View full-size profile images
  • Dark theme
  • Ping.fm integration
  • Tweetshrink integration
  • Twitlonger integration
  • German localization
  • Russian localization
  • Allow DMs up to 255 characters
  • Many UI tweaks
  • Play back Song.ly links
  • Option to use "RT" syntax
  • Better feedback for posting a Map link
  • Improved international date formatting
  • Detect invalid profile images
  • Fixed account sorting
  • Fixed profile image URL decoding
  • Fixed links with # anchors
  • Fixed "(null)" problem when using bookmarklet
  • Fixed problem with @ character in password field

Well, the good news is you can still get and use the existing Twitter 1.2.1, which can be purchased for $3 at Apple's App Store.

If the fact that Apple rejected Tweetie 1.3 due to an offensive word was true--and it appears to be, according to Brichter--I wonder why it hasn't removed Tweetie overall. It's not like you can only tweet naughty words with the updated version.

But mom and dad can be crazy and illogical like that.

About the author

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.

 

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