Tumblr removed from Apple’s App Store due to child pornography

Victor Barreiro Jr.
Tumblr removed from Apple’s App Store due to child pornography
Tumblr admits the application was taken down due to child pornography bypassing the filters set up to prevent it from showing on the service

MANILA, Philippines – The problem with relying on a database to filter out illegal content – instead of using a multi-pronged approach that combines it with human curation and algorithms – is the chance the database won’t catch the latest badness coming out of the gate immediately.

This appears to have been the case behind the sudden disappearance of the Tumblr application from Apple’s App Store last Friday, November 16, as spotted by the site PiunikaWeb.

According to a CNET report on Monday, November 19, Tumblr admitted the application was taken down due to child pornography bypassing the filters set up to prevent it showing on the site and the app.

Tumblr explained the takedown of the app within the context of its database filters, saying,

“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.”

Tumblr has been in this sort of scrape before. Indonesia previously blocked Tumblr earlier this year over pornography concerns.

As of posting, Tumblr says it is still working to restore the app onto the iOS App Store. – Rappler.com

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Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.