The power that Apple wields over its App Store has been demonstrated this week after popular blogging service Tumblr made a startling admission.
Tumblr admitted in a blog post that due to Apple guidelines, it has banned hundreds of words (thought to be as many as 450) so that its iOS app will still comply with Apple’s strict safety guidelines.
Banned terms include words such as ‘girl,’ ‘sad,’ ‘about’, ‘bald’, ‘bearded’, ‘injury’, ‘package’, ‘selfie’, ‘young’ etc.
Tumblr revealed the word ban for the updated version of its iOS app.
“For those of you who access Tumblr through our iOS app, we wanted to share that starting today you may see some differences for search terms and recommended content that can contain specific types of sensitive content,” wrote Tumblr.
“In order to comply with Apple’s App Store Guidelines, we are having to adjust, in the near term, what you’re able to access as it relates to potentially sensitive content while using the iOS app,” it wrote.
“To remain available within Apple’s App Store, we are having to extend the definition of what sensitive content is as well as the way you access it in order to comply with their guidelines,” it said.
It shows that other banned words include ‘addict’, ‘adult’, ‘anorexia’, ‘babe’, ‘bipolar’, ‘daddy’, ‘eating disorder’, Eugene Levy (a Canadian actor who stared in American Pie), ‘girlfriend’, ‘gun’, ‘hitler’, ‘my photos’, ‘racism’, ‘single dad’, ‘spandex’, ‘tickle’, and ‘trigger’.
That said, a lot of banned words are associated with various sexual practices, as well as drug taking and violence.
But some users on social media have pointed to some of the absurd banned tags that ended up getting filtered out on iOS, including the tag “submission.”
Although that word is banned, Tumblr itself applies that tag automatically when a post is submitted and then published to a blog on the platform.
‘Single mom’, ‘single parent’, ‘suicide prevention’, and ‘testicular cancer’ are also on the list, and the concern is this ban could hamper those seeking advice or support in these areas.
It should be noted that Tumblr has had issues dealing with porn topics on its platform previously.
In 2013 for example random, unauthorised posts appeared on many people’s blogs that they could not delete.
Many of those posts contained pornographic imagery, and users at the time thought the issue was the result of a hack.
But Tumblr explained a technical glitch was to blame.
Then in 2018 the Tumblr app was unexpectedly removed from the App Store after child pornography was found on the platform.
Tumblr then banned adult content altogether.
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