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Here’s an interesting change: Tumblr’s iOS application just received an update which now lets you turn on or off adult-oriented, NSFW search results just by toggling a switch in iOS’s Settings. That’s right: you can now switch on or off the Tumblr porn with ease. Weirder still, Tumblr’s note about the change in the App Store update text says this was implemented “per Apple’s content guidelines.”

Why is that weird?

Because Apple’s developer guidelines – at least today – explicitly tell app developers not to do this sort of thing.

Above: Tumblr’s iOS app update text 

 

While Apple has never permitted explicit apps whose sole purpose is to serve pornography, it long ago carved out an exception for social networks hosting user-generated content, provided they agreed to filter and hide the NSFW content by default.

This is an issue that greatly impacts Tumblr, given that its blogging network is actually composed of a lot of porn. In fact, according to website analytics service SimilarWeb, “adult” content is the top category that drives direct clicks to Tumblr’s desktop site, accounting for 20.53% of clicks, compared with the next-largest referring category, “books and literature,” which drove just 7.61% of clicks.

Above: Tumblr’s new porn toggle

Tumblr has always had NSFW content, saying that its policy about this sort of material is a “live-and-let-live” kind of thing, but it draws the line at actually hosting sexually explicit videos. (Embed them, it says.)

To be allowed into the iTunes App Store, Tumblr has had to filter out and hide this content in its iOS app by default. There’s a loophole, though – as I’m sure many of you know.

According to Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines, apps like Tumblr are allowed to show the NSFW content if the user turns the setting on via the service’s website.

Here’s the full text, per Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines, about how this system is supposed to…

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