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Apple Has a New Porn Problem 136

Posted by samzenpus
from the internet-is-for-porn dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Twitter's new iOS-only app, Vine, was prominently featured by Apple as an 'Editor's Pick' in its App Store the day it launched. However, given Apple's policies for adult content, they may have rushed the whole thing since this past Sunday, a number of news outlets ran stories covering the rise of easily-accessible pornography on the new video sharing app. As Joshua Topolsky explains, the situation draws even more attention to the vague and sometimes confusing rules of Apple's App Store guidelines, and more clearly showcases the sporadic and often unusual criteria the iPhone-maker uses to decide the fates of applications. So it will be interesting to see how Apple handles this given that they've never been shy about banning similarly racy apps in the past."
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Apple Has a New Porn Problem

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 28, 2013 @06:48PM (#42720759)

    It's a feature!

    • Now it's really an "open platform". :-)

      Where's my ASCII rageface?

      • It is notable that you can surf porn like crazy with Apple's own tool: Safari.

        Apple is not my mother. I already have a mother. She's already told me what she thinks, advised me, and set me loose within the world. Apple has no legitimate place in that hierarchy of trust and guidance. It belongs entirely to me.

        • talk about melodramatic. it has nothing to do with being mommy. it has to do with business. apple has a market, and they cater to their market because that's who pays the bills. imagine if you owned a cafe, and you had a bulletin board where people could post want ads, missing pets, etc... now some loser comes in and puts up a bunch of nudie pics. you know a vast majority of your clientele are middle-class soccer mom types who would frown on such a thing. what do you do? take it down, or leave it up?

          if y
          • by bhagwad (1426855) on Monday January 28, 2013 @10:25PM (#42722317) Homepage

            In a cafe, people are forced to read what's on the bulletin board - it's in their face. For an app, you have to choose to download it and watch it. Ergo false analogy since your soccer moms will then have to explicitly download the porn. After which they can't complain.

            What Apple is saying is...well I don't know what they're saying other than "We don't want to give you the choice to explicitly watch porn if you choose".

            • Still wrong because you can watch porn on Safari.

            • Maybe Apple just takes pride and a stance not to profit from porn. Maybe they want to be able to not have newspapers label them as "pornkings" after suddenly becoming the top porn retailer (if that would happen).

              • by bhagwad (1426855)

                What is there to be ashamed of? Porn is just another legal, honest business.

                • That's up for debate, but I'm sure you and most other people would agree that there is some social shame in porn - right or wrong.

                • What is there to be ashamed of? Porn is just another legal, honest business.

                  I only wonder why it makes sure to avoid Android, like so many other legal, honest businesses do?

            • by Kokkie (2291672)
              Protecting the "middle-class soccer mom types" against they themselves actively downloading porn isn't Apple's goal. The Apple stance has more to do about assuring parents that their pure and precious children can be trusted with an idevice by claiming it's impossible to actively/passively access porn (and that because of this the moms should buy their children an idevice instead of a dirty android). Don't mistake marketing for morality.
          • you know a vast majority of your clientele are middle-class soccer mom types who would frown on such a thing. what do you do? take it down, or leave it up?

            That's called "denial".

          • by clemdoc (624639)
            I think your analogy has its flaws, as has been pointed out already by others, but I had a great laugh when thinking about apple users as 'middle-class soccer mom types'.
            Thanks for that!
          • if you don't like what apple does, maybe you can start your own multi-hundred-billion-dollar company and do it your way...

            Or, don't buy Apple products. Seems like a more reasonable alternative to me. Just sayin', you know...

        • by mjwx (966435)

          It is notable that you can surf porn like crazy with Apple's own tool: Safari.

          Apple is not my mother. I already have a mother.

          Apple is less your mother and more your jailer.

          It keeps you in walls, limits what you're allowed to see and do. Controls access and keeps you in an entirely self contained world under Apple's complete control.

          Your mother at least cares about what you want... Apple carries out it's own agenda regardless of what you want.

    • It is a problem... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Apple hasn't figured out how to get people to sign up for porn using their (known to spouse) iTunes accounts, which means they can't get their 30%. That's their porn problem.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 28, 2013 @09:03PM (#42721835)

        Apple hasn't figured out how to get people to sign up for porn using their (known to spouse) iTunes accounts, which means they can't get their 30%. That's their porn problem.

        Apple did, however, figure out that banning porn apps is an easy way to score brownie-points with parents associations and christian conservative morality campaigners without pissing off their porn consuming customers who access porn via a web browser in privacy mode anyway and remain completely unaffected by the ban... and Apple can't tax porn downloaded via Safari now can it. Also most people don't want want to advertise the fact that they are porn consumers by having a porn app on their phone so banning porn apps probably isn't hurting Apple's bottom line all that much. This ban on porn apps is a complete joke, but it helps to sell their iDevices and anybody who still fears that their kids might download porn on their phone can ask their telco to put a content filter on their kids' mobile account while resting easy in the knowledge they can't bypass that barrier by downloading a porn app. Meanwhile vendors of encryption protected file storage apps are making brisk business (no prizes for guessing what drives a lot of those sales) and Apple is levying a 30% cut on ever one of them. So Apple has found a way to appease the conservatives while still finding a way to profit off of people's need to hide browser downloaded porn... genius.

    • lol, Customer Reviews from https://itunes.apple.com/app/vine-make-a-scene/id592447445 [apple.com]

      Crash & Burn by MyStimpy: Crashes at start, please guys test your app!!! :(

      by Andysroo: Crashes immediately after opening on 4s :(

      Crash and burn by Dopey Flea: Like so many new apps this one crashes before it opens

      Maybe there are other problems to attend to first.

      What's the point of having the video sharing only within the app, not accessible through browsers?

    • It's Not A Problem. It's a feature!

      And for once, it really is.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    To create a compelling story, duh!

  • by webmistressrachel (903577) on Monday January 28, 2013 @06:49PM (#42720777) Journal

    Apple loves Twitter. It's 140-char limit and mentality (following celebrity and names rather than participating or creating) really encourages the kind of consumer thinking Apple depends on. I predict that they won't ban, they'll put pressure on Vine to remove adult content.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      After that, they'll pressure the Internet to remove all adult content as well. I've heard that it's possible to access this adult content from iOS devices.

      • by c0lo (1497653)

        After that, they'll pressure the Internet to remove all adult content as well.

        This amounts to the removal of The Internet [youtube.com].
        If Apple - or anyone else - would ever ask for this, it's just easier to remove them from the Internet - it's not like it haven't happened in the past [macworld.com].

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Joehonkie (665142)
      Just because you don't understand how to make your own tweets and follow your actual friends doesn't mean everyone else is that confused.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        "Just because you don't understand how to make your own tweets" - duh. In terms of intellect, making a tweet is like making a fart compared to the websites I've made that are at no1 for their subject (try timber recycling sometime) with content easily managed by non-techie staff.

        Just because your average level of communication is so shallow that Twitter's 140 chars is an appropriate venue for you and your ilk, doesn't mean the rest of the world has to like it, and the way it offers people who MIGHT have mor

        • by iapetus (24050)

          The ability to get a coherent message into 140 characters isn't 'dumbing down' by any measure. Verbal diarrhea can be every bit as bad.

    • It's nice to see people who are utterly clueless about Apple users misunderstand other groups of people to the same extent.

      If you're going to be clueless at least COMMIT, and by God you have done so.

  • Hmm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Monday January 28, 2013 @06:56PM (#42720847)

    Perhaps the author of TFA is unaware of the fact that iDevices all come with web browsers, which can show porn easily?

    • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 28, 2013 @07:07PM (#42720947)

      Perhaps you are unaware that Apple does not allow Apps that serve porn to last very long in the AppStore?

      • by alen (225700)

        Not direct but porn is easy to get on the iPhone
        If you have an Apple TV it's easy to view it on your TV
        There are even streaming services set up to let you pay and stream porn on your iPhone and apple tv

      • by icebike (68054)

        Perhaps you are unaware that Apple does not allow Apps that serve porn to last very long in the AppStore?

        Its an app that posts short little movies. That's all it does. You can make a movie about anything, or nothing at all.

        Apple doesn't removed every app that could send or receive porn. There are dozens of such apps.

        • Apple doesn't removed every app that could send or receive porn.

          On the other hand, I remember there being a rule that if your app could possibly be used to display pornography via the Internet, it must have a "Adults Only"-type of rating.

    • There are HTML5 APIs that Safari for iOS has taken a long time to implement, such as the ability to upload photos taken with the camera app (<input type="file"> was completely unsupported until iOS 6 [caniuse.com]) or the ability to access the device's camera with the user's permission (getUserMedia [caniuse.com], still unsupported).
      • by Nerdfest (867930)

        I think you're still only allowed to upload a couple of file types. Their browser is intentionally crippled.

    • I'm not sure whether this applies to other web browsers, but Safari at least has the ability to be locked down via parental controls.

      However, I'm kind of looking forward to the day when the parental controls fail on some site, and an angry parent sues Apple for the content being displayed. If they have an anti-porn policy and parental controls in place to be "family friendly" (who under 18 can enter into a cell phone contract in the first place again?), then they have responsibility if "anything dirty" get

      • by TheP4st (1164315)

        If they have an anti-porn policy and parental controls in place to be "family friendly" (who under 18 can enter into a cell phone contract in the first place again?), then they have responsibility if "anything dirty" gets through.

        Their lawyers covered that in the EULA.

    • I think the point was that apple may have a PR problem, not a real "Oh my god, kids will see titties and will become sex perverts" problem. The chances of some idiotic overly-concerned parents organization realizing that safari gets on the web, and there's fucking on the web aren't zero, sure, but they're low.

      "New app! Twitter! Popular! Children! PORNOGRAPHY!" Repeat 20 times. Run on fox news for a day. Apple would have a bit of a problem then.
    • And that bug will be fixed by a future version.

    • It's a marketing thing. The Apple image isn't consistent with getting porn FROM Apple. If you use Mobile Safari to get porn, it isn't coming from Apple. Apple isn't trying to stop people from getting porn, they're stopping people from getting it from Apple.

      This is one of the disadvantages of maintaining a walled garden: if everything there has to be approved, every approval and disapproval has political and marketing impact.

      If you want to change this, you need to convince enough of society that por

  • Old (Score:5, Funny)

    by RedHackTea (2779623) on Monday January 28, 2013 @07:05PM (#42720919)
    Twitter messages already introduced pr0n. 3===D ~~~~ ( @ Y @ )
  • After all, in much the same way their web browser allows access to the most depraved porn mankind has to offer.
  • This is business as usual for Apple.

    The problem, of course, is that Apple has traditionally blocked porn and other adult apps from its App Store. Why hasn't Vine been included among them? Apple hasn't said, but possibly because Vine's expressed purpose isn't porn, but to share generic video.

    Possibly? Of course that's the reason. This has been the approach Apple has taken all along. Even Apple's own apps, such as Safari, can show adult content. So long as the rating is appropriate and the primary

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by dagamer34 (1012833)
      The almost near instant removal of the 500px app last week which went above and beyond Apple's supposed guidelines is more proof that the company does not apply it's rules equally to all companies.
      • The almost near instant removal of the 500px app last week which went above and beyond Apple's supposed guidelines is more proof that the company does not apply it's rules equally to all companies.

        Why the hell has this been modded troll? The 500px app WAS suddenly removed last week on the grounds that there is nudity and that it might have the potential get into the hands of children If you have the app installed then you are probably a member of the website AND have an interest in photography, therefore you are well aware of the nudity. If the standards by which these rejections are being made are based on potential, then Apple is being hypocritical and biased.

        • The almost near instant removal of the 500px app last week which went above and beyond Apple's supposed guidelines is more proof that the company does not apply it's rules equally to all companies.

          Why the hell has this been modded troll?

          The 500px app WAS suddenly removed last week on the grounds that there is nudity and that it might have the potential get into the hands of children If you have the app installed then you are probably a member of the website AND have an interest in photography, therefore you are well aware of the nudity.

          If the standards by which these rejections are being made are based on potential, then Apple is being hypocritical and biased.

          I'm sure it's pure coincidence that nobody downloaded the Android version of the app until news broke that Apple had banned the iOS app after some "users" had complained about child porn showing up. One could almost suspect a viral marketing campaign.

          Just like the banning of the "drone attack" app had generated much more publicity than its approval would have.

      • by TheP4st (1164315)
        Apple is hardly unique in that they have different set of rules for different companies, I'd say that is pretty much the norm, it's just that with the app store it become much more visible than it normally does.
      • by Bogtha (906264)

        The almost near instant removal of the 500px app last week which went above and beyond Apple's supposed guidelines

        The 500px app didn't have the appropriate age rating I mentioned. Funnily enough, 500px is back on the App Store now. The change? The age rating.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    You can watch porn on the Youtube app as well. Or, for that matter, in Safari.

    Yes, Apple bans outright porn-o-matic apps and allows these. People seem to think that the App Store censors are like some kind of '60s sci-fi computer. "MUST BAN PORN...CAN'T BAN NATIVE APPS...NATIVE APPS CAN BE USED FOR PORN...ERROR! DOES NOT COMPUTE! *huge tape drives explode*

    Maybe, worst case, they add Vine to the PG-13 category, or whatever they call the possible-mature-content section of the store.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      You can watch porn on the Youtube app as well. Or, for that matter, in Safari.

      Yes, Apple bans outright porn-o-matic apps and allows these. People seem to think that the App Store censors are like some kind of '60s sci-fi computer. "MUST BAN PORN...CAN'T BAN NATIVE APPS...NATIVE APPS CAN BE USED FOR PORN...ERROR! DOES NOT COMPUTE! *huge tape drives explode*

      Maybe, worst case, they add Vine to the PG-13 category, or whatever they call the possible-mature-content section of the store.

      Except those apps obey pare

  • by MCSEBear (907831) on Monday January 28, 2013 @07:25PM (#42721087)
    Twitter has begun to censor porn related searches on Vine. [theverge.com]

    Twitter's video-sharing app now blocks many searches for pornographic terms. Trying to search for the #porn hashtag (and other terms such as #sex, #boobs, and #booty) brings up no results at this time.

  • Acceptable (Score:5, Interesting)

    by andy1307 (656570) on Monday January 28, 2013 @07:38PM (#42721185)
    More and more things become acceptable as the stock hovers around 450.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday January 28, 2013 @07:46PM (#42721255) Homepage

    It is people who think porn is a problem which is the problem.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Porn can be a problem because of how deeply erotic responses hook into quadruped brains. The wrong porn in the wrong circumstances can create a mess in a brain. However, censorship is a terrible way to approach the problem.

      • by hairyfish (1653411) on Monday January 28, 2013 @08:34PM (#42721617)
        Because animals watching porn is a huge problem in today's society...
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Porn can be a problem because of how deeply erotic responses hook into quadruped brains. The wrong porn in the wrong circumstances can create a mess in a brain. However, censorship is a terrible way to approach the problem.

        Do you even have the slightest idea what youre talking about? I suppose not because everything you said makes absolutely no sense at all or is even real in way, shape or form.

      • by Smauler (915644)

        There's a possibility this is the case, but studies don't show a good consensus. Just because you think fucked up porn causes fucked up people doesn't mean the studies back you up.

        Also, trying to stop fucked up porn is a failure from the start. If you want it, you can get it, and relatively easily too.

        I personally try to avoid it... that might be because I'm not fucked up, rather than the fact I'm worried about the legal implications.

    • by gigaherz (2653757)
      So are parents that buy smartphones for kids too young to watch porn, for that matter.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    this gives new definition to "you're holding it wrong" ...

  • apple and other app stores need a adults only area.

    At least android let's you side load with having to jailbreak.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's only an Apple problem if you make it a problem.

  • won't load pornmd.com with specially formatted pages and videos for the iPhone. This is a stupid story...

    • by TheP4st (1164315)

      This is a stupid story...

      Really?

      "Recently the company pulled a popular photo sharing application from its App Store called 500px citing the discovery of "pornographic images and material." Apple offered this statement:

      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."

  • This is all part of Apple's plan to rescue their plunging stock prices!
  • by kegon (766647) on Monday January 28, 2013 @08:27PM (#42721573)

    I love this report [bbc.co.uk] about the article:

    One user, Taylor Winkelmeyer, wrote: "I clicked on the link because I thought the warning was a joke. "I am furious I had to see something like this. Someone please tell me how to get it off my feed."

    It's got to be fake, right ?

    • by Smauler (915644)

      Sadly, I don't think it looks that way. See here [twitter.com] and here [instagram.com].

      Now, usually I don't judge people quickly, especially by their online presence. Taylor Winkelmeyer may be an exception to this rule.

    • by zeptic (323902)

      With a name like that it's got to be real...

  • by dgharmon (2564621) on Monday January 28, 2013 @08:53PM (#42721743) Homepage
    You have got to be kidding, do you seriously think the pornography seekers had to wait until now to easily find porn? Des slashdot have to join in what looks like a blatent attempt to tarnish the Apple App Store by associating it with porn.

    "Vine lets you explore video categories with a hashtag, and a few quick searches for #sex, #porn, and some others that we'd prefer not to write down here show a number of graphic videos that feature male genitalia and recordings of pornographic videos streaming on laptops. That's just scratching the surface "
  • Hardly a problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ikaruga (2725453) on Tuesday January 29, 2013 @12:46AM (#42722935)

    First off Mobile Safari and all the other reskins(the other iOS browsers). A huge chunk of internet porn is perfect visible by just having a browser. And with the adoption of HTML5 in the next few years, I'd go as far as saying 99% of the porn will be visible by just having a web browser(even with a gimped javascript engine on iOS). If Apple was really serious about porn, they wouldn't have a browser in first place. Or maybe they'd use something like Opera mini, that goes through their server, gets censored, and then goes to the client device. The only porn that I don't think will be visible using a browser are a few Japanese 3D erogames(the visual novels can be done using HTML5. actually I'm surprised they haven't done so yet)

    Then there is also offline viewing. iOS may not have file managers and it's codec selecting is limited, but its more than enough to view a video/pics uploaded uploaded through iTunes.

    The apps. Apple policies are BS. DeviantArt is filled with artistic nudes, softcore porn and furry and it has multiple apps on itunes. Pixiv(japanese deviantart like site) is about 30% hardcore hentai porn and it has apps as well. Reddit and its japanese great grand father 2ch have several native clients for iOS, and they are filled with porn. Twitter already had links to porn and its integrated on iOS. It's not very hard to find youtube videos with some nudity or obscene language and there is an app for that. The only popular website with NSFW content that seems to be banned from the Appstore is 4chan.

    Finally, the hypocrisy: their music and video stores have tons of potentially offensive content(not just nudity and sexual terms) that would be banned from the AppStore right off the bat. Never really understood the fuss about the apps.

  • There is still a Playboy app available for iOS in the App Store.
  • We're receiving reports from sources on the ground in Cupertino that there is PORN on the INTERNET! Stay tuned to the Obvious News Network for in-depth analysis of what this new internet pornography phenomenon means for Apple and iOS app vendors, coming up at six o'clock.

  • I don't mind if Apples censors everything to death, because that's exactly what I would expect from Apple. Maybe one day the legions of braindead fanboys will finally get tired of having their toes stepped upon, and Apple will finally go the way of Betamax and HD-DVD. DARPA may have made the Internet, but porn made it prolific.

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