Tumblr was removed from App Store for child pornography

Sheri Evans
November 21, 2018

The iOS app has been absent from Apple's App Store since November 16th, but until now, it was unclear why. The page was updated multiple times over the weekend, each update containing variants on "no really, we'll get it fixed very soon".

Per Apple's App Store Review Guidelines, objectionable content includes content that's "offensive, insensitive, upsetting, meant to disgust, or in exceptionally poor taste".

When the app vanished, a page appeared in Tumblr's help center basically giving the standard "We're working on it" excuse. We're still working on the issue with the iOS app. Firstly, it says that the App Store has too many apps with similar behaviour.

While some originally wondered whether the removal of the app was due to a technical problem, Tumblr told sister site CNET that the app was removed as illegal child pornography was not being stopped by the platform's filters and protections.

As a workaround for anyone who might have deleted it, Digital Trends suggested navigating to the Purchased section in the App Store and reinstalling the app from there, which it said has had mixed results.

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"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".

In its statement, it said that all images uploaded to Tumblr pass through a database of "known child sexual abuse material".

Since distribution of child pornography is a criminal matter, it explains why this app was removed as swiftly as it was.

The company removed the offending content immediately and the gap in content monitoring is being tackled. Content safeguards are a challenging aspect of operating scaled platforms.

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