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Apple blocks email app’s ChatGPT update, suggests age restriction – WSJ

Gelo Gonzales

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Apple blocks email app’s ChatGPT update, suggests age restriction – WSJ


Gelo Gonzales/Rappler

The ChatGPT update is designed to allow users to automate writing emails based on the content of prior emails and calendar events

MANILA, Philippines – The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, March 2, US time, reported that Apple had blocked an update submitted by email app BlueMail which gives the app the ability to use the ChatGPT chatbot, according to documents seen by the publication. The app’s developer is contesting Apple’s decision. 

Apple decided that the BlueMail ChatGPT update has the potential of serving inappropriate content to children, and made the suggestion to include content filtering, and to restrict the age of its users to 17 years old and above, moving it up from its current age restriction of 4 and above. 

The Journal reported that Apple and its content review team told the BlueMail developer Blix Inc, “Your app includes AI-generated content but does not appear to include content filtering at this time.” 

BlueMail’s use of the ChatGPT chatbot would allow users to automate writing email based on the contents of prior emails, and calendar events. 

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Ben Volach, founder of Blix, told the newspaper that the request is unfair, that other apps already use similar AI functions, and that they have content filtering in place. The company can make an appeal to Apple through its App Review Board. 

Microsoft’s Bing, also now powered by ChatGPT, is available on Apple’s App Store where it has the 17-and-up age restriction. Bing has shown glaring flaws, sometimes offering incorrect information and strange answers, especially when the chat goes on for a long time. This has caused Microsoft to put a cap on the length of conversations, limiting users to 5 questions in a session, and 50 in a day. 

Google is more relaxed towards ChatGPT-powered apps, with Bing and BlueMail being available on the Android Play Store without age restrictions. 

This particular case may set a precedent for how Apple deals with generative AI technology like ChatGPT. The Journal reported, “In the past, Apple has at times discovered an issue with an app that leads the company to apply a new rule more broadly. Initial inconsistency in applying App Store policies–especially new policies–isn’t uncommon, said Phillip Shoemaker, former senior director of the App Store review team at Apple, who left in 2016.” –

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Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.