Tumblr removed from Apple App Store due to filter not catching child porn (updated)

  • TECH
  • Wednesday, 21 Nov 2018

The ministry on Tuesday said Tumblr would be accessible again once the company complied with the government

Microblogging service Tumblr released a statement saying that child pornography got through its filters, which likely led to its removal from the Apple App Store.  

According to The Download, when presented with findings that the Tumblr app was removed due to child pornography getting past its filters, a company spokesperson confirmed that some images failed to be filtered.

It later uploaded the statement to its help centre, saying it was committed to building a safe online environment for all users and has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to media featuring child sexual exploitation and abuse. 

It says this is an industry-wide problem so it's working with industry partners in the United States like NCMEC (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) 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," Tumblr says, adding that it immediately removed the content. 

Last Friday, Tumblr noted that its app could not be downloaded, assuring users that it was working to resolve the issue. 

“Our team continues to work on the issue with the iOS app, which is our top priority at this time. Thanks for your patience and for checking back here for updates,” it said, in an update on Nov 18. 

However, beyond that neither Tumblr or Apple made clear why the app was taken down.

In Feb, Apple pulled Telegram from its App Store on grounds the messaging app was being used to distribute illegal content, specifically child pornography, to users.

Apple’s guidelines for app makers are so strict that anything available on the store must have a content filter to screen out such material.

Within hours of being pulled, Telegram returned to the App Store with fixes in place to prevent the illegal content from being served to users.

Likewise, Tumblr has been used as a platform to share adult content, and placed the onus on its users to flag such material as “Not Suitable for Work” to warn other users.

The site was even banned in Indonesia for a day in March, with Reuters reporting that the ban followed an email by the Indonesian Government asking Tumblr it to “clean its platform” of pornographic content.

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