Apple pulled all apps from the App Store with Confederate symbols such as the Battle Flag of the Confederacy Friday morning. Almost immediately, though, the company began backtracking by working with developers to reinstate apps that use such symbols for "educational or historical uses."
Ultimate General: Gettysburg
There has been a massive wave against those symbols throughout the U.S. in the aftermath of a racist terrorist attack in South Carolina that left nine people shot by a white supremacist. Apple CEO Tim Cook urged Americans to remove symbols of racism in a tweet many interpreted to be aimed at the Battle Flag of the Confederacy, in particular. Salesforce.com CEO Mark Benioff was another powerful tech executive who urged the same thing.
There was soon a tsunami of such sentiments as politicians on the left and the right made similar calls, and then retailers—including giants like Amazon, Walmart, Ebay, Google Shopping, and even Etsy—made the decision to pull such merchandise.
In that context. Apple was merely one more retailer to pull such products, but the App Store is a bit different from most retailers. In particular, the App Store has war games, educational apps, and history apps with confederate symbology where usage is not intended to propagate racist idealogy. Fortunately, the company was quick to recognize that, and it issued the following statement:
We have removed apps from the App Store that use the Confederate flag in offensive or mean-spirited ways, which is in violation of our guidelines. We are not removing apps that display the Confederate flag for educational or historical uses.
The company told TechCrunch that it is working with developers to quickly get apps that fall under that "educational or historical" umbrella reinstated. Games such as Ultimate General: Gettysburg, a war game, have not yet been reinstated as of this writing.
TMO's staff discussed this issue on Friday's Daily Observations podcast.