Apple removes 500px photo-sharing apps after child pornography complaints
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has ousted photo-sharing startup 500px from its App Store, citing issues with objectionable content and potential child pornography violations.
TechCrunch reports Apple removed the 500px for iOS and ISO500 apps Tuesday morning after an App Store reviewer flagged a recent software update. In a notice sent to 500px, Apple said it could not approve the update because it is too easy for users to find nude photos in the apps.
"The app was removed from the App Store for featuring pornographic images and material, a clear violation of our guidelines," an Apple spokesperson said. "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." The Next Web notes that if the child pornography complaints later resulted in legal action, Apple could be held liable had it failed to take action by immediately removing the 500px apps.
"We take the issue of child pornography incredibly seriously," 500px said. "There has never been an issue or one complaint to us about child pornography. Although it has never happened, a complaint of this nature would be taken very seriously and would immediately be escalated to appropriate law enforcement agency. In all our conversations with Apple a concern about child exploitation was never mentioned."
500px COO Evgeny Tchebotarev said the apps default to "safe search" mode following their initial launch, requiring users wishing to view more explicit images to visit the company's desktop site to change their settings. 500px nevertheless will update its backend databases to prevent mature content from appearing in searches, stating the solution is "less elegant" than the firm would like but will solve the problem. 500px also will work to implement a more sophisticated content filtering solution.
The 500px app for iOS launched in October 2011; the company acquired Pulpfingers, the French startup behind ISO500, late last year. Prior to their App Store removal, 500px was closing in on 1 million downloads, with ISO500 recently topping the 200,000 mark.
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