Tumblr Removed From App Store Over Failure to Filter Out Child Pornography

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Apple removed Tumblr from the iOS App Store late last week because the Yahoo-owned social network failed to filter prohibited content, it emerged today.

The Tumblr app for iPhone and iPad went missing from the App Store on Friday, November 16. Shortly afterwards, Tumblr announced that it was "working to resolve an issue" with the app, but stopped short of explaining the problem.


It wasn't until Download.com approached Tumblr with sources claiming child pornography had been found on the service, that the social network issued a statement providing more information.

In its statement, Tumblr said that every image uploaded to the service is "scanned against an industry database of known child sexual abuse material," and images that are detected never reach the platform. However, a "routine audit" had revealed content that had not yet been included in the industry database, and Tumblr had acted "immediately" to remove it.

"Content safeguards are a challenging aspect of operating scaled platforms," it added. "We're continuously assessing further steps we can take to improve and there is no higher priority for our team."

This isn't the first time a popular app has been removed from the App Store for prohibited content. In February, Apple pulled encrypted messenger app Telegram from its store for violating Apple's iOS developer guidelines, which require all apps that host user-generated content include a method for filtering objectionable material from being posted.

When Telegram fell foul of Apple's guidelines, the app was back on the App Store within 24 hours. Tumblr said getting its app reinstated is its "top priority," yet it continues to be unavailable for iOS devices, although Android users can still download Tumblr via the Google Play Store.

(Via The Verge.)

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Top Rated Comments

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24 months ago

We should remove safari too as you can find child pornography using that app!!

Tumblr is not a web browser, they're a website in control of their content (or at least tries to be)

this sort of argument is silly and makes no sense at all
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
24 months ago
They better remove Twitter and Facebook and every other social media platform. They also better remove Safari. You can find lots of bad things searching on Apple’s own Safari.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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24 months ago
What about web browsers?

Definitely not excusing their behaviour!! Just unsure about the logic.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
24 months ago

They better remove Twitter and Facebook and every other social media platform. They also better remove Safari. You can find lots of bad things searching on Apple’s own Safari.

You know that Safari isn’t the one hosting that content on their servers right? Do you not understand how the internet works? There’s a reason that content hosting websites and internet browsers are extremely different.

To be clear, content providers are actually held responsible for what they house on their servers. If it’s illegal content, they can be held responsible. Apple made the right move.

Also, if child porn was found to be unfiltered on Facebook or Twitter, it’d be a much bigger story than this. Not all “bad things” you find is illegal content.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
24 months ago
Are the "ban Safari" crew being purposely facetious?

Apple aren't "in charge" or what you see in Safari. Guess we should remove the iPhone cameras then, to stop people from taking the photos. Or maybe just get rid of iPhones altogether, since there's a possibility that the user will store child pornography in the camera roll. We can't completely ban everything just because there's the potential that someone could misuse it - we can, however, hold services directly responsible for their hosted content. If Safari was a service that could be used, that would be different. If iCloud was a public gallery that hosted public content, that would be different.

Apple took steps to hold a company accountable for the content that they are directly hosting and their refusal to remove said content. I saw someone underage on Tumblr just last week, and despite blocking the account my reporting of it was met with silence. While Tumblr can't/shouldn't be held responsible for the upload, they should be held responsible for the removal. This move should be applauded, not met with criticism.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
24 months ago
Tumblr and Pinterest is a scourge on the internet.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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