As TechCrunch reports, Apple has pulled photo sharing app 500px for iOS from the App Store because of concerns over nude photos. Though the company says that its recent acquisitionISO500 for 500px from Pulpfingers was also removed from the App Store, it remains available for download.
500px is a popular website for both professional and amateur photographers, and according to 500px COO Evgeny Tchebotarev, the company’s mobile apps have been downloaded by more than a million users. TechCrunch has a rundown on what happened:
The apps were pulled from the App Store this morning around 1 AM Eastern, and had completely disappeared by noon today. The move came shortly after last night’s discussions with Apple related to an updated version of 500px for iOS, which was in the hands of an App Store reviewer.
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 types 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.”
According to Tchebotarev, 500px does not allow explicit pornographic images, and he explains that most of the nude images on 500px are “artistic.”
Though the app has been in the App Store for 16 months, it runs off of the 500px site, which is currently limited to community moderation for inappropriate photos. 500px is working on a solution that will automatically flag questionable photos to prevent them from appearing in searches, but the technology is not yet finished.
Flickr, Tumblr, and other photo sites that function in the same way, with user-based moderation, remain available in the App Store.
500px has created a fix to address the nude photo issue, which has already been submitted to Apple and could result in the return of the apps to the App Store shortly.