An experiment of sorts: Can you remove Trump from the internet?
I recently tried embarking on a relatively small but interesting experiment: removing Donald Trump from the mobile web.
Just like many others, I started getting really tired and annoyed with hearing about Donald Trump in the news. Like most people, I just tired by best to ignore any news that was Trump related. But this became increasingly hard as his campaign has essentially taken the 2016 presidential race by storm.
Apple also recently released their new version of iOS, which enables developers to create content blocking apps. This feature became big news as many ad blocking apps started hitting the App Store and people started debating the ethics of ad blocking (see this for more).
That gave me an idea. What else could you use content blockers to block? So I started thinking and a number of things came to mind: better productivity through blocking distracting content, better discipline by blocking potential vices, a more positive web by blocking negativity, and finally blocking things that suck. The latter lead me to the idea of blocking Donald Trump from my iPhone.
After digging through the Apple developer docs and reading blog posts, I discovered it is really quite simple to build a content blocking app. So I decided to do it. The initial plan was to make it humorous, release it on the App Store, and charge a little bit of money to download and maybe I’d make a little something off of it on the side.
As you might expect, the initial app was rejected by Apple. All for good reasons, mostly for copyright reasons since I was using images of Trump in the initial version. Besides that, getting sued by Donald Trump or his campaign really wasn’t how I wanted to spend 2016.
So after getting rejected, I chose to go a different route instead. Why not open source the app and let anyone improve on it or download it to their own phones without having to go through the App Store. So that’s what I did. The open source code is here: https://github.com/acmeyer/trump-block. Feel free to improve it, fork it, or whatever, but above all try it out!
I won’t make any money from it but I can sleep easier knowing more people can potentially get Donald Trump off of their iPhones :)