Apple has blocked an email app powered by ChatGPT due to concerns that the app would not adequately filter content for young audiences. The blocked app update, which the app developer claims is unjust, suggests the power Apple holds in establishing AI moderation standards during a time of limited government oversight. It also hints at a potential brewing conflict between Apple and Google, the two largest app store operators globally, over the extent to which they will allow budding AI apps looking for a home on mobile devices.
The blocked email app, BlueMail, was developed by New Jersey-based Blix Inc and uses OpenAI’s ChatGPT to generate emails for users based on their prior content and calendar data. Blix’s developers stated that they received an email from Apple stating that the app had been blocked because it “does not appear to include content filtering at this time.” Apple then gave Blix a choice: enhance its content filtering process or increase its minimum age restriction from four to 17 years old.
Blix’s co-founder Ben Volach informed the Journal that his company does use content filters and argued that Apple’s revised age restriction request is unjust and would harm his business.
Blix, the developer of BlueMail, does not have the most favorable relationship with Apple. Alongside Epic Games, Blix was one of the founding members of the Coalition for App Fairness, which was created to challenge the percentage of revenue that Apple receives from the App Store.
Apple stated in response to the WSJ that it is looking into Blix’s complaint and mentioned that developers can file an appeal with the App Review Board. The company did not address claims that other AI apps have been allowed through without age restrictions.