Microsoft rejecting social apps in Japan

So we've had trouble in the U.S. and Europe surrounding submission approval for apps, as well as flaws in the system which allow spam and useless apps to flood the Marketplace. We now turn to Japan where a social bookmarking app, Hatena Viewer, has been rejected due to links within the app pointing to 2ch/Futaba (Japanese 4chan equivalent).

Hatena Viewer is a Hatena Bookmark client, which shares the same functionality as Digg. AppHub stated the rejection reason as the following:

"It appears the application contains several articles linking to 2chan."

They really don't like anything 2ch4chan, etc. related, and this is what bothers the Japanese developers. Due to this type of app publishing user generated content, the developers can't control what is linked to or submitted. Also, what's more interesting, Hatena Bookmark for iOS is available without age restrictions (link below).

As well as the Hatena Viewer app being rejected, a 2ch viewer app was also turned down due to the following reason, provided by the Windows Phone Policy Team:

"Windows Marketplace does not currently support age restricted content. Therefore all content must be appropriate for users to the of 13. It has been determined that content from sources such as 2chan and 4chan are not allowed in the Marketplace.While we cannot provide specific instruction to you as to how you can modify your application, we would recommend ensuring all content is appropriate for users to the age of 13 and the adult categories are removed." sums it up pretty effectively:

  • Currently there's no mechanism in place on the Marketplace with regards to content with age requirements
  • All content must suit 13 year olds
  • 2ch and 4chan's content is not permitted
  • Adapt to the age of 13 if you want to update all of the content within application, to remove the adult appeal

What do you make of the situation?

Source: iOS Hatena Bookmark (opens in new tab), (Translate (opens in new tab)) & (Translate (opens in new tab))

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • What happened to that "Parental control" feature in Mango?In any case, it's MS being MS, all legal and ****
  • Yep. Moreover, Windows Live has parental control feature (Family Safety) that parents can use to control the family’s Live ID through sort of web-based admin control panel.Luckily it seems that there’s no kill switch on already installed apps, but still sucks.Other than direct link to 2ch board itself, there’s actually a lot of link to blogs specialized in archiving old topics with curated list of comments (means useless lololol comments are cropped out). Seems like those killed too in the process.
  • That website contains some pretty disturbing ****
  • Unless there is more to this story, MS is overreacting.
  • This is a non-issue for me. I don't have a desire for apps that are of an "adult" nature and I've never heard of 4chan or 2ch.
  • But... Craigslist apps are allowed.
  • Wow. There is still no age restriction mechanism ? I hope Nokia can step up the game by having as much voice as they can regarding their customers.As far as I remember, Japanese like their community. They like their 'forum'. Many other Asian countries also share similar characteristic.Maybe MS has not realized this yet; Asian tend to stick together wherelese Weterners tend to stick on their own. There is plus and minus, but if you want to sell, sell their needs.
  • 2ch is not an adult site in Japan. It is available legally for any ages. Adult contents are isolated from 2ch by another domain. It is not strictly equivalent to 4chan in U.S..The biggest problem is that all apps are reviewed with U.S. criteria even if they are sold only in Japan, thus, apps are not allowed regardless of legal in Japanese criteria.
  • This is a non-issue even for Japan. 2ch is a popular sub-culture of Japan, but market force in my opinion.The issue showing up here is that Microsoft is imposing US marketplace rules on the Japan marketplace. which is completely separate. I think Microsoft should copy how Apple handles this situation, if they are not doing it already. I recall Apple has restrictions similar to this as well, and they removed "questionable" content from their marketplace.The nice thing is that it does make for standard rules that makes developer's lives less confusing.