Apple removes popular app over explicit photos row

500pxThey say a picture paints a thousand words. But clearly Apple doesn’t want the sort of images being painted by 500px.

The Californian tech giant has removed the popular app from its iOS App Store for including pornography and, more disturbingly, for alleged images of child abuse.

Downloaded almost a million times since it was released for iOS in October 2011, Apple said the app had breached its strict guidelines.

In a statement, Apple said: “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.”

Apple has not revealed the exact nature of the images which provoked complaints.

But the operators of 500px denied there was pornography on the app, saying there were nude images, but they were tasteful art.

Chief operating officer Evgeny Tchebotarev said: “Some people are mature enough to see these photos but by default it’s safe.

“We don’t allow pornographic images. If something is purely pornographic, it’s against our terms and it’s deleted. It’s not about pornography, it’s about fine art.”

500px sells itself as a “photo community powered by creative people worldwide that lets you discover, share, buy and sell inspiring photographs.” The most popular photos on the site at the moment are mainly landscapes.

The Android version of 500px remains available via Google Play, with Google so far refusing to speculate about whether it will follow Apple’s lead and take down the app.

A Google spokesman said: “We don’t comment on individual applications. However, you can check out our policies for more information.”

500px imageHe added: “We remove applications that violate our policies such as apps that are illegal or that promote hate speech.”

It’s not the first time Apple has purged pornographic content from its site. The company has previously been accused of censorship after it removed four pornographic book titles from the bestseller list. In 2010, four erotic novellas disappeared simultaneously from Apple’s charts, only to be replaced with less risqué books, including Peter Mandelson’s autobiography.

While Apple didn’t comment at the time, analysts said it would be unlikely that all the erotic titles could have fallen out of favour with customers at the same time, without them being deliberately removed.

In February the same year, the company ridded its iPhone App Store of what it called all “overtly sexual content”.

The move was made after the late Steve Jobs announced while Apple chief executive that he wanted his newly-launched iPad to remain free of any pornographic applications.

Forum users seemed to think that Apple had gone too far. One said: “Take away a tool because it might be misused? That makes as much sense as banning chefs knives because you could cut someone with one, or banning cars because you could run someone over.”

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