It’s not every day that an app as well known as Tumblr vanishes from the App Store. That’s exactly what happened over the weekend, however, when the microblogging social network app was wiped off the face of Apple’s app repository.
Now a new report claims that the reason it was removed was because it contained child pornography, which somehow managed to get around Tumblr’s filters.
Tumblr issued a statement saying the following:
“We’re committed to helping build a safe online environment for all users, and we have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to media featuring child sexual exploitation and abuse. As this is an industry-wide problem, we work collaboratively with our industry peers and partners like [the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children] (NCMEC) to actively monitor content uploaded to the platform.
Every image uploaded to Tumblr is scanned against an industry database of known child sexual abuse material, and images that are detected never reach the platform. A routine audit discovered content on our platform that had not yet been included in the industry database. We immediately removed this content. 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.”
Since distribution of child pornography is a criminal matter, it explains why this app was removed as swiftly as it was. Tumblr is reportedly working to get itself back into the App Store, although we’d certainly hope it will introduce some more advanced filtering tools before this is done.
Tumblr’s official app first appeared in the App Store almost a decade after Tumblr acquired a third party app called Tumblerette. This is its first time being removed from the App Store in the U.S. However, Tumblr has long been criticized for hosting questionable NSFW material, with a small, but still significant part of its content being pornographic in nature.
Of course, as mentioned, there’s a big difference between adult and child pornography, which is why Apple clearly did the right thing by removing Tumblr ASAP. Hopefully all involved can get to the bottom of this problem as soon as possible.