Apple Apologizes to Developer After Indigenous Language App Wrongly Removed From App Store

Apple has apologized to the developer of an app meant to promote the Indigenous language Sm'algyax after he was falsely accused of dishonest and fraudulent acts, and as a result, had the app removed from the App Store.

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Brendan Eshom, a member of the Ts'msyen First Nation community, developed and published "Sm'algyax Word" on both Google Play and the ‌App Store‌ this past July. The app serves as a dictionary for phrases and words from Sm'algyaxm archived from FirstVoices.com, and at its core is meant to preserve the language for generations to come.

However, the app was unexpectedly removed from the ‌App Store‌ when it acquired around 600 downloads, pushing it to the top charts in the Education category. Eshom says that he received an automated email from Apple informing him that his developer account would be terminated due to "dishonest and fraudulent" acts that go against Apple's terms and conditions.

Eshom told Global News that it's "definitely concerning when Apple is accusing you of committing fraud" and said that he attempted to reach out to Apple for an explanation for his termination, but his attempts were unsuccessful. The freshmen college student ultimately decided to contact Consumer Matter, a segment from Global News in which companies and corporations are pressed for answers, to try and get Apple to respond to the situation.

Apple responded in a statement to Consumer Matters, explaining that the termination of Eshom's developer account was a mistake and that his app about the Sm'algyax language showcased "how technology can be used to bridge cultural understanding." Apple goes on to apologize to Eshom and promises to improve its processes to ensure it does not happen again.

Maintaining the integrity of the App Store is a responsibility we take seriously to ensure the safety of our customers and give every developer a platform to share their brightest ideas with the world. Unfortunately, this developer's app, which is a great example of how technology can be used to bridge cultural understanding, was mistakenly removed from the App Store.

We regret this error and apologize to Mr. Eshom for the inconvenience this caused him. We have since reinstated his developer account and app, and will continue our efforts to improve our processes to ensure this does not happen again.

Just this week new questions started to circulate following the revelation that scam apps on the ‌App Store‌ continue to enjoy millions in revenue. Apple states that apps that attempt to trick users or engage in "scam practices" will be removed from the ‌App Store‌, however many still remain.

The contrast between Eshom's case, where a completely innocent app was removed from the ‌App Store‌, and the case of scam apps roaming rogue on the platform highlights recent concerns that Apple's losing grip with implementing and maintaining an effective moderation policy.

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Top Rated Comments

adrianlondon Avatar
44 months ago

Umm why? Mistakes like this happen all the time.
The mistake was automatically removing the app and then also terminating his developer account.

The apology (and advice above to give the guy something) was because after doing this, Apple refused to engage with him at all until some consumer organisation dumped bad publicity on them.
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
syklee26 Avatar
44 months ago
Should give this man a fully loaded macbook pro as a gift
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Heelpir8 Avatar
44 months ago

Umm why? Mistakes like this happen all the time.
Because he's been trying to get his app reinstated for 6-7 months?

"The Sm’algyax Word app was launched on both Google Play and the Apple App Store in July where it enjoyed early success, only to be unexpectedly removed weeks later."
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
adrianlondon Avatar
44 months ago

And they apologized and gave him access back...? Why is everyone always after free stuff.
It's how you make people feel better rather than bitter, and in a small way make the company which made the mistake realise there's a financial cost to making them.

it's like giving people a free coffee or dessert in a restaurant when they messed up part of the order. They don't have to, but it's often seen as a win-win. Customer happy, and more likely to come back and hence earn you more profit than you lost in giving away the freebie.

Plus, everyone loves a freebie! Well, I do, so I'm on the side of the freebies.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
twistedpixel8 Avatar
44 months ago
This is the problem with Apple: they pass judgement with no way for the “defendant” to explain anything or ask for evidence of what they’re alleged to have done wrong. He tried to reach out for more info and they just ignored him. I’m getting very tired of Apple’s behavior with regards to third-party developers who make them a mountain of money.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
EmotionalSnow Avatar
44 months ago
Having an App Review system that makes no mistake is not possible. But this really should not have happened. He should not have been ignored after the removal of the app. If Apple doesn't take steps to fix the App Store problems soon, they risk losing the right to be the only App Store on iOS, iPadOS, etc.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)