Unless you’ve been living in an (internet -free) cave for the last decade, you’ll no doubt be familiar with apps – short for applications. As the lifeblood of smart phones and tablets, there’s pretty much an app for anything you can think of to take care of your every communication, banking, social media, eating, transportation, travel, rating, booking, photo-sharing, news, coupon, health, ticketing or entertainment need.
However, as many apps as there are in the world right now, plenty don’t see the light of day, or at least not through the usual channels like the Apple App Store, the Google Play Store or the Windows Store, or in certain countries, states or territories. The reality is that every year tons of apps are excluded from these online stores because they either fail to make the grade or they end up being banned for one reason or another.
In this article we’ll look at some of what we consider to be the best apps that are banned around the world and why.
Real Money Online Gambling Apps
One of the most noticeably banned apps or to be more accurate, category of banned apps are real money gambling apps. While all of the major app stores have social casino apps i.e. apps with fun play casino games that allow in-app purchases but do not pay out winnings, none of them support traditional real money online or virtual casinos or other real money online gambling sites that allow deposits and withdrawals.
The good news is you don’t need to download apps to gamble online for real money on your favourite smart phone or device. This is because of HTML5, the ground-breaking Hypertext Markup Language used in most modern web development. What’s great about games developed in HTML5 is they’re 100% internet -based so you don’t have to download them and they support multiple platforms and operating systems.
In other words you can play online casino games instantly 24/7 regardless of whether you access them on your home Windows PC running IE, your office Apple Mac running Safari, your travel laptop running Chrome, your Samsung Galaxy smart phone powered by Android, your iPhone 8 powered by the latest Apple iOS or your Nokia powered by Windows 10 and so forth.
Never before have online casinos and their games been so widely and easily available, or many accessible without the need to make a deposit. Just follow these steps to get started:
- Choose a reputable online casino
- Sign up for a new account with the casino
- Login with your username and password and visit the casino cashier
- Make an instant deposit using one of the available payment methods
- Pick and tap to load and play any real money casino game you choose
Everyone has access to the world’s favourite social media app, right? Wrong. Facebook is officially banned in China, Iran and North Korea.
Interestingly enough, Facebook wasn’t always banned in China. It was only blocked in mid-2009 following the violent Urumqi riots when it transpired that activists involved in the riots used the social media platform to communicate with each other.
Similarly, the Iranian government also had no issue with Facebook until the country’s 2009 election, where Facebook was banned as it was allegedly used as a communication network by members of the various opposition parties.
Most surprisingly of all, North Korea only banned Facebook in 2016, when authorities grew concerned about the spread of potentially damaging information to the state. Today any citizen even attempting to access Facebook in North Korea faces severe punishment.
When Uber was launched in 2011 in San Francisco, most people lauded the peer-to-peer ridesharing app as ‘revolutionary’ and an effective way to cut down on traditional transportation costs.
However, while saving users money Uber has proved to be very costly to traditional transportation industries – like the taxi industry – resulting in the company being banned, demonised and denigrated in many countries. It’s also been widely criticised for paying its drivers too little, and for a having a corporate culture reportedly rife with lapses in ethics, sexual harassment and generally ruthless behaviour.
This has resulted in Uber being banned in various countries, states and territories. For instance, Uber is banned throughout Denmark, Bulgaria, Hong Kong and Hungary. In its native United States, Uber is banned in most of Oregon, except its largest city Portland.
Across the Atlantic, meanwhile, the Uber app is allowed to be used throughout the United Kingdom except its capital, London, and in all states of Australia except for Northern Territory. It’s banned in Brno, the Czech Republic’s second-biggest city, while its cheapest service, UberPop, is banned across Italy, France and Germany.
Once available on the App Store and the Google Play Store, the popular anonymous messaging app Sarahah was banned by both recently for unfortunately becoming the app of choice for online bullies in many parts of the world, including Australia.
Since the app let users send instant messages without revealing their identities, it became the ‘go to app’ for cyber bullies. Responding to a widespread online petition calling for the app’s ban, the two app stores responded by kicking it to the curb.
When the TubeMate app was launched it made big waves around the world. It allowed users to download YouTube videos to their smartphones directly, without having to watch the video first. However, as soon as the app began raising questions of ‘copyright infringement,’ its days were numbered and it too ended up on the ‘app scrapheap.’
While some apps have been banned because they were used for the wrong reasons as in the case of Sarahah, others have been banned for working too well i.e. for being too effective. AdAway is one such app which was designed to help Android users eliminate the many annoying ads they’re exposed to while browsing the internet.
Unfortunately for the app’s developers, Google (the multi-billion dollar company that just happens to generate the bulk of its revenues from ad sales) saw this as a conflict of interest and made short work of booting AdAway off the Google Play Store.
Even though many of us may be frustrated at times when the best apps from around the world get banned, more often than not the most worthwhile and useful of them stick around and help make our lives better, easier or more fun in some way.