Tumblr pulled from App Store over child exploitation

Even though the offensive content is reportedly removed, the app is still unavailable at the Store

Photo: Flickr

When Tumblr for iOS inexplicably vanished from the App Store a few days back, neither the social network nor Apple issued a detailed explanation for it. However, after Download.com approached Tumblr with sources, claiming that the reason was related to the detection of child pornography on the service, the Yahoo-owned social media network issued a statement confirming the cause of the app's disappearance.

In its updated statement, Tumblr said that while every image uploaded to the platform is “scanned against an industry database of child sexual abuse material” to filter out explicit images, a “routine audit” discovered content that was absent from the database, allowing it to slip through the filter. Yet, Tumblr assures the content was immediately removed.

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

Social media network's app however is still unavailable on the App Store for iOS. Android users, though, have access to it in the Google Play store.

According to several social media posts, Tumblr has been deleting all kinds of NSFW blogs and adult-orientated content recently, even those that didn't post child exploitation materials. The removal of the pages has prompted rival social network Mastodon to attempt to persuade Tumblr users to the service, by offering them decentralised services, extensive customization options for users' profile and lack of ads and promoted posts.

Child pornography, nevertheless, is a completely different matter. Apple’s iOS guidelines clearly state that all apps must have a content filter to screen out such material, and it seems Tumblr’s existing system wasn’t up to this standard. It also seems like it still isn't up to this standards. Thus, no clear timeframe for its return has been given.

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