Apple has been accused of capitulating to demands from China’s government before, and it appears that it’s done so again. The tech giant has pulled Damus, one of the fastest growing alternatives to Twitter, from the App Store in China, with the developers being informed that the Nostr app “includes content that is illegal in China.”
According to a tweet from the folks behind the app, a message from Apple claimed that the app was being removed from the China App Store Store at the demand of the Cyberspace Administration of China. The CAC said Damus “violates the Provisions on the Security Assessment of Internet-based Information Services with Attribute of Public Opinions or Capable of Social Mobilization.”
According to TechCrunch, Being decentralized means there is no central authority that decides who can participate or say what on the platform. That made Damu’s approval process difficult at first, as Apple requires services to have a mechanism for flagging objectional content, but Damus eventually worked out a way to get listed in Apple’s App Store on February 1.
TechCrunch says “the decentralized nature of the app no doubt led to its short-lived debut in China where information is under tight control by the government.” The article notes that social networks legally operating in China all have censorship tools baked in to eliminate illegal content or information banned by the authority. Anonymity is non-existent as user signups are linked to people’s real identities.
9to5Mac notes that Apple had previously rejected the app from all its App Stores, and for the same nonsensical reason. From the 9to5Mac report: Nostr is an open protocol that can be used to build a wide variety of services, but the primary application right now is the ability to use it to effectively create your own Twitter-like social media network.
Most social media networks are of course created and controlled by tech companies. You need an account, and they get to decide what can and cannot be posted. They also get to collect whatever data they like.
Nostr is different, because nobody owns it or controls it. Anyone can effectively broadcast a message that is relayed to either your friends or everyone, as you like. You can find a more detailed explanation here.