500px is back. After Apple pulled 500px from the App Store, enraging fans and calling into questions Apple’s ethics, the photography app has been reinstated for both the iPhone and iPad.
The app was initially pulled by Apple for featuring “pornographic content,” but in 500px’s defense, its founder argued that the “pornographic content” that the Apple reviewer responsible for 500px’s takedown was referring to was actually just nudity. There’s a clear distinction between nudity and pornography in the art world, which 500px COO Evgency Tchebotarev said made the app’s take down unfair.
The platform had preventative and precautionary measures in place to identify and expunge pornographic content. For instance, when 500px first launched, the app had a safe search function in place to prevent explicit (nude) content from surfacing. To change this option so that nudity did show up in search results, you had to turn it off in the Web app. However Apple still found issues with 500px so to adhere to Apple’s rather stringent guidelines when it comes to explicit content, the Toronto startup was in the middle of talks with the reviewers to become better compliant with iOS standards. In fact the issues apparently couldn’t have waited for 500px to push its updated and compliant app, as apparently Apple had been receiving complaints about child pornography.
But taking a look at the app now that it’s live again, there doesn’t appear to be a huge feature update that was pushed to the App Store. The only feature that’s popped up since is the ability to report explicit content that alerts 500px. It’s a manual way to combat its porn problem, but the 500px team was reportedly working on an automated way to find explicit content uploaded to its app. But we’re not seeing any signs of this recognition engine in action.
Regardless, pornography is a beast to tackle, and Apple is having enough issues with this problem as it is. In the latest controversy aside from 500px, Twitter, for one, has been promoting (albeit accidentally) pornography in its newly launched video app, Vine.