Decentralised social network Damus to be kicked from App Store

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Damus, a decentralised social networking app backed by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, is facing removal from the App Store due to Apple’s strict rules.

The app had previously made changes to comply with Apple’s guidelines but still failed to meet the tech giant’s requirements for its tips feature. This situation highlights the ongoing tension between Apple’s control over in-app purchases and developers’ desire for more flexibility.

Apple has a history of prohibiting developers from selling additional in-app content unless the transactions go through Apple’s payment system.

Damus had implemented a tips feature using Bitcoin’s Lightning Network to avoid violating these rules. However, Apple argued that the feature could be used by content creators to sell digital content, leading to the threat of removal from the App Store.

Despite the adjustments made by Damus, the app will be removed from the App Store according to Apple’s review notes.

Apple stated that if tips or donations are associated with receiving digital content, they must use in-app purchases according to its guidelines. Damus plans to file an appeal, asserting that the guideline is being misapplied and abused.

The app’s removal from the App Store is a blow to Damus, which aims to provide an open and decentralised social network.

Developed using the Nostr protocol funded by Jack Dorsey, Damus allows users to engage without a central authority making content decisions or controlling participation. It emphasises privacy with end-to-end encrypted messaging and avoids requiring users to provide personal information such as phone numbers or email addresses.

The situation with Apple is not the first challenge Damus has faced. During the app review process, Apple had asked Damus to follow the same rules as traditional social networks, which caused issues due to Damus’ decentralised nature. The app was repeatedly rejected until February when it was finally approved.

Damus’ removal from the App Store raises concerns about Apple’s control over app content and payment systems. This clash between Damus and Apple highlights the ongoing debate surrounding app store policies and their impact on innovation and competition.

As Damus prepares to appeal Apple’s decision, it remains to be seen how the situation will unfold. The outcome could have implications for the future of decentralised apps and the power dynamics between app developers and platform owners.

See also: Apple hints at enabling sideloading in iOS 17

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