Chaos at Tumblr.
After users reported the Tumblr iOS app disappeared from Apple’s App Store over the weekend, the microblogging platform initially stated nothing more than they were “working to resolve the issue.” Days later, with the iPhone app still MIA, Tumblr has published a longer statement identifying the issue: child pornography on the platform.
“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 NCMEC (National Center for Missing & 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. 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.”
Over the weekend, first reported the growing accounts from Tumblr users claiming they could no longer find the Tumblr app on the App Store. Those with the app already installed found they could no longer query a Tumblr search with the “safe mode” turned off. Safe mode filters out NSFW or adult content from the results.
This issue prompted speculation that the app was removed from App Store due to the adult content accessible within. Apple has previously forced various platforms, like , to remove or filter out pornographic content if they want their apps to be approved for the App Store.
However, received word through independent sources that the reason for the Tumblr app’s removal wasn’t due to Apple’s policies on adult material, but because of actual child pornography. Tumblr officially confirmed that illegal content had slipped through the platform’s filters and was indeed the cause of the iOS app removal.
In the aftermath, Tumblr’s iOS app has still not returned to the App Store. Users who previously deleted the app can still reinstall via the ‘Purchased’ section of the App Store when logged into their account on an iOS device.
In addition to everything going on with Tumblr’s mobile apps, many users are now reporting that their blogs posting legal NSFW or explicit content are from the site. Additional accounts claim that SFW blogs are getting in the removals as well. Confusing things even further, some users claim that these blog deletions if you contact Tumblr support.
Mashable has reached out to Tumblr for an update.