Tumblr back in App Store after banning all porn

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The Tumblr iOS app currently can’t be installed.
Tumblr is back as its NSFW content is in the process of being removed.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Tumblr’s exile from the iOS App Store is over, but the company behind it had to kick all forms of pornography off the platform to be allowed to return.

While that decision is controversial, it did mean that this blogging app can be again be downloaded to iPhone and iPad. 

Tumblr was kicked out of the App Store on Nov. 16, reportedly for hosting child pornography. Rather than improving its system for blocking such content — which was already against its community guidelines — its developer Oath made the decision to go much, much farther. The company said early this month it is “no longer allowing adult content, including explicit sexual content and nudity (with some exceptions).”

The ban is set to go down on Monday, Dec. 17. Community members with porn have been receiving notifications from Tumblr in advance so they can either appeal or migrate content onto a different platform.

Even before the big change goes into effect,  the software is already listed again on the iOS App Store.

A controversial change

The latest version includes the innocuous note “This particular update also includes changes to Tumblr’s Community Guidelines which prohibit certain kinds of content from being shown on Tumblr.” The software is still listed as having a 17+ rating, however.

The change is seen as Apple forcing prudish morals on the community. And it’s also being taken as an example of the downsides of the monopoly power granted Apple by the App Store. Oath doesn’t have the option of distributing the Tumblr app through other means, as iPhones and iPads can only get software through the App Store.