Apple this morning pulled 500px’s mobile app from the App Store on account of it being too easy to search for nude photographs.
The Toronto-based company attempted to update the app – the update did not make nudity more prevalent than prior editions – but was shot down by a reviewer.
According to TechCrunch, the reviewer told 500px that the update couldn’t bewas not approved because it allowed users to search for nude photos in the app. However, the app was in the store for 16 months and had actually implemented changes months ago to make searching for nude photos – which 500px insists are strictly artistic and not pornographic – more difficult.
The Apple reviewer told the company that the update couldn’t be approved because it allowed users to search for nude photos in the app. This is correct to some extent, but 500px had actually made it tough to do so, explains Tchebotarev. New users couldn’t just launch the app and locate the nude images, he says, the way you can today on other social photo sharing services like Instagram or Tumblr, for instance. Instead, the app defaulted to a “safe search” mode where these type of photos were hidden. To shut off safe search, 500px actually required its users to visit their desktop website and make an explicit change. Tchebotarev said the company did this because they don’t want kids or others to come across these nude photos unwittingly. “Some people are mature enough to see these photos,” he says, “but by default it’s safe.”
It’s an odd reason, considering how easy it is to search for nude photos in Safari, Apple’s default mobile web browser. Which is why we’re not to surprised to see 500px fans – and people in general – lashing out an Apple in response.
500px’s app has been downloaded nearly a million times on iOS devices.
UPDATE: Apple has issued the following comment (via The Verge):
The app was removed from the App Store for featuring pornographic images and material, a clear violation of our guidelines. We also received customer complaints about possible child pornography. We’ve asked the developer to put safeguards in place to prevent pornographic images and material in their app.
To which 500px founder Evgeny Tchebotarev has said, “We’ve never ever, since the beginning of the company, received a single complaint about child pornography. If something like that ever happened, it would be reported right away to enforcement agencies.”