Tumblr’s iOS App Was Pulled Off the iTunes App Store Due to Child Pornography

The company blamed content that had not yet been added to the industry database of known child sexual abuse material

You won't find Tumblr in the iTunes App Store right now TARIK KIZILKAYA/iStock
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The Tumblr iOS application has been unavailable via the iTunes App Store since late last week due to instances of child pornography not being caught by the site’s filters.

Aparajita Sharma of PiunikaWeb was the first to report Tumblr’s iOS issues last Friday.

Lance Whitney of CNET’s Download.com reported that he learned from “independent sources” that child pornography was the issue that caused the app’s removal from the App Store.

A spokesperson for Tumblr issued the following statement: “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 industrywide problem, we work collaboratively with our industry peers and partners like (the 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. 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.”

That statement was also added to a post on Tumblr’s Help Center, which originally read last Friday, “We’re working to resolve an issue with the iOS app and hope to be fully functional again soon. We really appreciate your patience as we figure this out, and we’ll update this article when we have news to share.”

The post was updated four times to alert users that Tumblr was still working on the issue. The Tumblr app had still not been restored to the iTunes App Store at the time of this post.

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.