After reviewing the Dissenter iOS browser and finding that it doesn’t violate any of the App Store’s guidelines, Apple has rejected it because Gab’s other products outside of the App Store contain “defamatory and mean-spirited content.”
Gab says that it submitted the Dissenter iOS browser to Apple for review on May 20, 2019. Earlier today, Gab highlighted that it seems to be taking much longer than usual for the app to come out of review.
Shortly after Gab posted this message, Apple rejected the Dissenter iOS browser. Apple said that the Dissenter iOS browser itself doesn’t contain any content that violates its App Store guidelines. However, it still rejected the Dissenter iOS browser on the grounds that it’s “representative of the type of content” in Gab’s other apps and services, such as Dissenter for Mac and the Dissenter service.
Both of the apps that Apple mentions allow users to leave comments which are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution on any web page. However, according to Gab CEO Andrew Torba, this commenting feature was not part of the Dissenter iOS browser.
In addition to rejecting the Dissenter iOS app, Gab also claims that Apple banned its App Store developer account which means it can no longer submit apps to the App Store.
This isn’t the first time Gab has been censored by big tech companies. Its products have also been banned from the Firefox extensions gallery and the Google Chrome Web Store.
However, Gab is committed to consistently building solutions that allow its users to speak freely online and plans to get on the App Store by transitioning over to the open source social networking protocol ActivityPub on July 4. This is the same protocol which powers the Mastodon social network and there are already around 30 apps on both the iOS App Store and Google Play Store for Android that use ActivityPub. The iOS versions of these apps have already been approved by Apple and many have been on the App Store for years. This means Gab users will be able to login to Gab through any of these apps on their mobile devices when it has transitioned to this new protocol.
Gab added that it has also reported Apple to the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and urges it to investigate. The DOJ is reportedly already getting ready to investigate Apple and the company is also likely to be investigated by the US House Judiciary Committee as part of a sweeping antitrust investigation into big tech. This report from Gab is the latest example of the growing antitrust scrutiny Apple has faced in recent months over the App Store.