Rotten Apple: Company Pulls Baby Shaking Application for IPhone

3468207014_ac3d1aed2a128px-apple-logoAs an IPhone and a longtime Apple user (I got the first Apple and never have used anything other than Apple and Mac computers since), I am positively disgusted by the decision of someone at Apple to feature an application where people can have fun shaking a baby to stop it from crying. After international outcry, the company has withdrawn the product.

“Baby Shaker,” a simple app from Sikalosoft, was first offered for 99 cents. It shows crying babies and a stop watch. To stop the crying, you shake the iPhone hard and then little Xs appear on the eyes of the baby, which appears dead. Baby shaking is as funny as wife beating. Babies are injured every year due to such abuse and people have been routinely criminally charged with such abuse.

“Baby Shaker” is the brain child of a company called Sikalosoft.

For the full story, click here and here.

8 thoughts on “Rotten Apple: Company Pulls Baby Shaking Application for IPhone”

  1. FFLEO,

    There is a WordPress plugin for censoring spam (that this blog probably uses, otherwise it would be overrun with penis enlargement, et al spam) called Akismet. For further reading, see a page on the wordpress blog called “Combating Comment Spam”

    With regard to the cut and paste stuff, that’s a bit harder. The way that spam filters work (such as Gmail’s) is via a Bayesian filter. Basically what happens is whenever a message comes in, it is tested for similarity to other messages. If it’s too similar to too many messages that have been received in the past, it’s flagged as spam. There’s a lot of tweaking of the algorithm that goes on, but that’s the basic idea.

    Cut and paste spam detection is much harder because of the lack of a spam corpus to compare the blog post against. Relative to the shotgun approach of email spammers (send out as many messages as possible to as many people as possible) cut and paste spammers are snipers. So, it seems we’ll have to tolerate their mess for now. If the problem gets above a certain threshold where the corpus of spam posts becomes sufficiently large to develop an effective filtering tool, then the game may change. But for now such a system would result in too many false positives / negatives to really be useful.

    (I tried to post links in this post but it kept getting held for moderation…)

  2. FFN,

    As a computer scientist, is there a way for a blawg like this to automatically filter out as Spam those numerous posts of the same copy/paste article variety posted under numerous different topics and back-to-back strings in threads, such as Former Dem often does?


  3. FFN presents a valid argument. Perhaps the market place should be only censorship of this app. I generally deplore censorship.

    BTW, is there an app available depicting Rush Limbaugh where you can speak the works ‘Shut Up!’ and BIG RED XXXs will appear over his enormous mouth? Notice that I did not say shake, because even shaking that guy is ‘probably’ wrong.

  4. Having worked in the child abuse field for eight years this app really puzzles me. Almost all child abusers that I dealt with committed these horrific abuses out of anger and frustration. They didn’t set out to harm the baby. What then is the market for an app such as this? Who are the people who would buy it and what is going on in the mind of its’ creator?

  5. Some clarification/argument from a devil’s advocate (and computer scientist):

    – Apple did not ‘feature’ the app, as the summary claims. It was simply allowed to be purchased by consumers, not highlighted in any way, as far as I can tell. All iPhone apps go through an approval phase before being put on the iPhone store.
    – We all agree that this app is in bad taste. The question is whether we want Apple to be a moralizing censor with regard to products that can appear on their platform. What other things might they reject? Sexual content? Political content? Gay content? Etc. We don’t need to wonder: There are many others that are similarly arbitrarily rejected with no explanation.
    – Turley’s (and all of our) ‘disgust’ at this app and calls for its removal is an understandable sentiment, but far too often is the same course of events that leads to similar censorship. Video games are a form of speech and are a favorite target of politicians and others for censorship. I think on this blog we all recognize that censorship is A Bad Thing.
    – I say, if someone wants to virtually shake their babies (or boobs, or whatever), let them.
    – Of course, I don’t think that Apple will adopt this position anytime soon since they are the target of such knee-jerk ‘international outcr[ies]’ whenever someone dissaproves of something near to which they see an Apple logo.

  6. Apple’s approval process for the App Store is puzzling, to say the least. There are far less offensive applications which have been rejected by them.

  7. This is out of a newspaper where “Rows of hundreds of American flags are flapping in the wind today at _______ Park – one flag for each of the 1,400 children dying annually from child abuse and neglect.

    The flags are part of the Healing Field national campaign to raise awareness about and prevent child abuse and neglect.”

    I think the topic today is appropriate.

  8. Never liked Apple. Like my windows based application phone. Never like violent games or gangs. I never cared for GTA or Grand Theft Auto.

    I am on the generation of Pinball machines. Better for the soul.

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