Some MobileMe webmail users are accusing Apple of shenanigans for invisibly filtering outgoing messages based on the content. The way it seemingly works is that if Apple's system flags your email as inappropriate for reasons unknown to the sender, the email will fall off a virtual cliff never to be seen again, and the sender isn't notified of what just happened. Is something shady going on?
Not likely, but Apple's content-based filtering is interesting. The filter was first reported in a thread on MacInTouch by MobileMe user Ken Rosenblum who attempted to send a political email to a mailing list. His email reads:
"The authoritarian Governments in Syria, Greece, Saudi Arabia and Yemen continue to oppress and massacre their own citizens. Their manipulative and combative attempts at controlling the media and their citizens are unethical and illegal. They continue to oppress its own citizens through beatings, harassment, jailing and killings. Stop the oppression of innocent Arab People!!! Take a stand against Authoritarian Oppressive Regimes! Equal Rights to all people!"
MobileMe's filter determined the email sounded too spammy and blocked the message from going through. This wasn't an isolated incident. CultOfMac was able to trigger MobileMe's content filter by trying to send the same message to three different email addresses, each with spam filtering turned off. In each of the three tests, the message never reached its destination, though it went through just fine when using Mail.app under OS X Lion.
Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller acknowledged the filter, but says it's not political in nature.
"We want to make clear that Apple is not blocking MobileMe email due to political content," Muller said in statement. "Occasionally, MobileMe's automated spam filters may block legitimate user emails by mistake. If a customer feels that legitimate email of theirs was blocked this way, we encourage them to get in touch and report the issue to MobileMe support."
The problem Rosenblum and other MobileMe users have with Apple is that if it "or anyone else is going to block/filter/censor emails, they should at least notify the customer the message did not go through."