November 20, 2018

Apple praised for removing Tumblr app, but falls short with other apps

According to news reports, the popular social media app Tumblr was removed from Apple’s App Store after the discovery of child pornography on the platform.

“The National Center on Sexual Exploitation congratulates Apple for taking a bold stand against child sex abuse with its decision to remove Tumblr from its app store.  It has become increasingly evident that predators use mainstream social media platforms to facilitate sexual exploitation,” said Dawn Hawkins, executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “We have seen mainstream social media being used to groom children, solicit children for sex trafficking, and share pornographic images of children.”

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation recognizes that Apple has a long history of rejecting sexual exploitation on its platforms by not allowing sexually explicit apps in its App Store, by developing good parental controls across its systems, and by not allowing pornography TV apps on Apple TV.

“We hope that Apple extends their policies to deal with other popular apps engaged with sexual exploitation,” said Hawkins. “Instagram is currently the main online platform used by traffickers and sex buyers to sell minors, yet the app is rated for age 12+; Netflix, rated 4+, places self-produced content with full-frontal nudity next to popular children’s cartoons in its platform; Twitter with a rating of 12+ has long allowed pornography and prostitution to thrive on its site,” Hawkins noted.

NCOSE urges Apple to change the age ratings associated with these and other mainstream apps to accurately reflect the risk to young users.

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