The news broke last month when Italy's tourism minister asked Apple to remove an app from the App Store that depicted the country as a Mafia paradise. We have heard the complaints from developers about the strict submission rules in the App Store, but certain apps have surpassed Apple's censors. It is not the first time that organisations ask to stop selling certain content: remember that the iPad app Pulse was pulled from the App Store in June after The New York Times complained about the use of its content.
Now a small iPhone app by Apalon, What Country, had to change some defamatory content attributed to Italy substituting it with other stereotypes about the country. The offending material is actually a picture and a description about Italy ruled by the Mafia. "The Mafia in Italy is large. No surprise. It's known as Cosa Nostra ... The Mafia in Italy constitutes a formidable economic power, which accounts for 10 percent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product)." In fact, the summary view on the app still hasn't changed and presents the country as a place of "Mafia, crazy drivers, pizza, pasta, scooters."
I contacted Apalon on 4th October, but told me that they had not received any formal complaint. However, the last update of the app notices that the content attributed to Italy has been revised. Dmitry Podlipsky from Apalon confirmed that they actually have received a letter from the Italian Ministry of Tourism requesting them to remove any Mafia reference in the app.
The app also goes into other well-spread jokes about nationalities, which some might find lacking taste and not really accurate. The app also offers users the option to upload their own pictures, but so far I haven't seen any new content besides the timely updates provided by Apalon. Apps like What Country have their public (see the comments on The Telegraph's article) and Apple censors didn't see any fault, or perhaps was overlooked. In this case, it seems that the App Review Guidelines rules didn't apply: "Professional political satirists and humorists are exempt from the ban on offensive or mean-spirited commentary."