Tumblr removed from App Store because of child abuse material

21 Nov 2018612 Views

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Tumblr app on a tablet computer. Image: ArturVerkhovetskiy/Depositphotos

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Filters and industry database failed to stop explicit imagery being posted on Tumblr.

The disappearance of the Tumblr blogging app from the Apple App Store was due to child abuse material getting past the site’s filters.

The app has been missing from the App Store since 16 November.

‘Content safeguards are a challenging aspect of operating scaled platforms’
— TUMBLR

Initially, the company claimed it was “working to resolve the issue with the iOS app”. However, in a new statement, the company confirmed that child abuse material posted by users was able to evade an industry database of explicit images.

Routine audit

“A routine audit discovered content on our platform that had not yet been included in the industry database. We immediately removed this content,” said Tumblr.

It added that getting Tumblr relisted on the App Store was a priority but gave no date for when it might return.

“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 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.”

Tumblr added: “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 app on a tablet computer. Image: ArturVerkhovetskiy/Depositphotos

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com