Apple’s dumb decision to remove third party Reddit apps for NSFW content

Apple ham-handedly yanks third party Reddit apps because of NSFW content, and Reddit users react with anger and disgust. What on earth was the company thinking when it did this?

Apple has a habit of sometimes removing apps from the iOS App Store for specious reasons. The latest fiasco involves third party Reddit apps that were removed because they allowed access to NSFW content.

Apple yanked Narwhal and a bunch of other third party Reddit apps with a sudden ferocity that surprised the developers of these apps, and left users wondering what the heck was going on. The company's decision also angered many redditors and initially caused confusion among developers as to why exactly their apps were pulled.

The company has begun allowing third party Reddit apps back onto the App Store, but only after developers remove NSFW toggles from their apps. Of course Apple did this despite apps such as Narwhal having been available in the App Store for many months with the very same NSFW controls available to users.

Apple’s decision to remove third party Reddit apps brings jeers from redditors

Once news of Apple’s decision to yank third party apps hit Reddit, folks in the Apple subreddit reacted with disgust and jeers. I’ll share my own thoughts below, but here’s a selection of comments from redditors in the Apple subreddit:

Deceptiveideas: “Emergency iOS 9.3.2 patch released to pull Safari after claims of being able to access NSFW content.”

ChipsAndDiplo: “And twitter, tumblr, google, bing, firefox, the list goes on…”

UnoriginalTitle: “Ban iOS, people actually use this OS to access NSFW content! The horror!”

Biznatch11: “I don’t understand this at all. Web browsers and other apps can easily display pornographic content and they are allowed. If Apple has a problem with that kind of content they should be praising reddit apps for having the ability to turn NSFW content off, unlike a web browser which generally doesn’t have that ability.”

Alexnoyle: “The purpose of reddit is not porn; this is silly. By this logic they should remove safari as well. Not to mention Instagram and Twitter. As well as all third party web browsers and terminal emulators. You can get porn through email as well, might want to remove all of those.”

Satisfried: “There’s gotta be thousands of apps with potential nsfw content. I mean the camera itself can lead in that direction. Imgur has an app, not to mention the countless hookup apps. Total dick move. Glad I have narwhal installed already.”

BendersShiny: “And could removing the toggle allow it to be determined by the default setting you have selected on the website. While just pretending it doesn’t exist for the app.

Edit: Just saw the new Narwhal update. This is exactly why it does.”

PhillAholic: “Which is asinine. It was nice to toggle it to block content when I wanted to. Really dumb Apple.”

Autotunedqueef: “Complain here:

http://www.apple.com/feedback/itunesapp.html

Ponchoboy: “Not only do these apps just access data freely available on the internet, they have been on the store for YEARS. Now, suddenly, someone has decided to ban these apps because they access the internet, and the internet (gasp) contains NSFW content?

Better pull Safari next. And iMessage. And Mail. I may get a NSFW email someday… heaven forbid. Please, Apple, protect my eyes from this filth! (/sarcasm)

What may be worse, is that this decision will likely be reversed in the coming days, which shines yet another light on the crazy disconnect between the App Store team and other parts of the business. Maybe things will get better when you move under one, giant spaceship roof.”

More at Reddit

Really, Apple? Are you serious?

When I found out that Apple had done this, I almost couldn’t believe it. As one commenter noted, some of these apps have been in the iOS App Store for years without Apple saying a word. Then suddenly the company goes on a NSFW jihad against these apps?

And to make matters worse, all the company has accomplished here is to force developers to simply allow whatever the default NSFW setting is on a user's Reddit account. This means that convenient NSFW toggle controls are removed but the exact same NSFW content is still available via these apps.

Frankly, it makes me wonder what is going on inside of Apple that allowed something like this to happen. Somebody higher up the food chain should have stopped it before it even got started, but the higher-ups at Apple were apparently asleep at the wheel yet again.

Did anybody at Apple pause to consider the feelings of Reddit users who now have had their ability to conveniently control NSFW content removed from their favorite apps?

And are the folks running the iOS App Store so disconnected from reality that they think that Reddit apps are the only way people are accessing NSFW content?

Apple's Safari browser: The ultimate NSFW porn portal?

Um…there’s this browser thingie called Safari that Apple created and ships with every single iOS device ever created. And Safari can access more NSFW content than even Reddit has available. Some would regard Safari as the ultimate NSFW porn portal on all iOS devices since it can access any adult site on the Internet.

Yet I don’t see Apple considering the removal of Safari from its iPhones, iPads or iPod touch devices. If third party developers are going to be held to this wacky NSFW content standard, then Apple ought to hold itself to the exact same requirements for its own browser.

Yes folks, it's time for Safari to be removed from iOS.

Time for Apple’s customers to speak up

I don’t think I’m alone when I express disgust about Apple’s decision to remove third party Reddit apps. Like many other Apple customers, I use apps like Narwhal to access Reddit regularly, and I don’t take kindly to Apple limiting my choices when it comes to controlling what kind of content I see on Reddit.

If you feel the same way then be sure to take a moment and submit your feedback to Apple. And while you’re at it, it couldn’t hurt to send Apple CEO Tim Cook an email expressing your thoughts about this ridiculous situation.

It’s way past time for Apple to get a reality check on how it handles this sort of thing. Forcing developers to remove NSFW content controls is one of the dumbest things Apple has done in years, and somebody at the company needs to override this foolish decision and fix it ASAP.

Apple, what on earth were you thinking?

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