updated 04:41 pm EST, Tue January 22, 2013
Finding nude photos hard to do, developer insists
[Updated: Apple issues statement on the matter] Photo gallery service 500px has had both of its photo-sharing apps -- 500px and ISO500 -- removed from the App Store by Apple, the developer says. The titles are said to have vanished around 1AM Eastern time today. 500px's COO, Evgeny Tchebotarev, has explained that Apple took the move following talks about an updated version of its namesake app, which was being looked at by an App Store reviewer.
The reviewer claimed that the update couldn't be approved because it allowed people to search for nude photos. Tchebotarev notes though that the app defaults to a "safe search" mode where anything with nudity is hidden. To shut the mode off, people in fact have to go to a desktop website and opt out. Pornographic nudity is moreover against 500px rules, meaning it's automatically deleted when discovered; only artistic nudity is allowed. At the moment porn can only be identified when people voluntarily report it, but Tchebotarev says the company is working on detection technology that will automatically tag content.
500px reportedly told Apple yesterday that it could make changes to solve any concerns, both in its own app and any third-party titles using the 500px API, such as Flipboard or Google Currents. Apple responded that it couldn't wait, even though tweaks would take a day and the 500px app had previously been on the App Store since October 2011. A new version of the update has been submitted.
Update: Apple has told TheNextWeb that it received complaints from customers about pornographic images and possible child pornography, which explains the urgency of Apple pulling the apps. While the developer denies the charges, Apple says it will restore the apps when the developer has installed "safeguards" to prevent even accidental discovery of any pornographic images.