ASO Weekly - Truth Social & App Store Lawsuit

September 2, 2022

ASO Weekly - Truth Social & App Store Lawsuit

Welcome to this week’s ASO Weekly – Gummicube’s recurring segment where we discuss some of the biggest events in the mobile app industry, app store developments, and how they may affect your App Store Optimization (ASO) strategy.

This week, we’ll be exploring:

  • Truth Social blocked from Google Play Store due to User Generated Content
  • Apple settles over App Store rejections and scams

Google Play Pulls The Plug on Truth Social – What Went Wrong?

Truth Social, the controversial, right-winged social media app endorsed by former US president Donald Trump faces yet another hurdle in the app stores. After it hit its viral moment on the Apple App Store, Google Play wasn’t so forgiving. So, what went wrong?

In a report by Techcrunch, Google has decided to block the Truth Social app launch on the Play Store. This comes after Google Play’s increased crackdown on harmful content on its store platform.

According to a report by Axios, Google found posts within the app that appear to violate its policies like mentions of violence, hate speech, and abuse. This type of friction leaves a lot of developers and Truth Social users wondering, is a lock from iOS imminent?

After all, iOS and Google Play share similar publishing restrictions, but Google places a higher emphasis on strong user-generated content (UGC) moderation – something that the Truth Social app lacks since the moderation system is AI automated.

According to the Google Play policy, apps must have, “ robust, effective and ongoing UGC moderation, as is reasonable and consistent with the type of UGC hosted by the app.”

Additionally, apps containing UGC must be vetted for the following:

“Hate Speech — We don’t allow apps that promote violence, or incite hatred against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, caste, immigration status, or any other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization.

Violence — We don’t allow apps that depict or facilitate gratuitous violence or other dangerous activities.

Terrorist Content — We don’t allow apps with content related to terrorism, such as content that promotes terrorist acts, incites violence, or celebrates terrorist attacks.”

As for now, the future of Truth Social is in limbo. Our ASO company will update you on the progression of Truth Social news as it unfolds.

Eleftheriou backs out of the lawsuit against Apple, Instead Cites Needed Improvement

According to TechCrunch, App Store critic and developer, Kosta Eleftheriou has settled his lawsuit with Apple. The lawsuit surrounded alleged monopolistic practices Apple uses to “crush” smaller developers with high barriers to entry. This includes, high feeds, and “selective application of opaque and unreasonable constraints”.

Additionally, Eleftheriou has been an outspoken advocate of more user-facing transparency under the guise of user protection in app software installation. With the rise of scam and/or malicious apps, Eleftheriou suggests the return of a report button, and web user-facing reasons an app was taken down by the App Store when searching for an app URL.

In an effort to create a more transparent App Store ecosystem for developers and users, Elftheriou, after dismissing the case, suggests that Apple could do more to make the App Store experience better.

Sean Hollister of the Verge outlined 8 Ways the App Stores could be improved. Read the full article, or check out their points here:

  1. Hire an app review team big enough to actually do the job
  2. Police its most profitable apps for fraud
  3. Automatic scam refunds
  4. Stop Auto-renewing subscriptions by default
  5. Stop selling ads atop app store search results
  6. Lock underage users out of adult apps
  7. Bring back the “report a problem” button
  8. Kill off start ratings

Do you agree with these suggestions? How would these changes affect mobile app promotion?

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