Apple has pulled a number of third-party Reddit clients from its App Store. The firm says that the apps in question violate a clause in the App Review Guidelines relating to content that is considered inappropriate or “not safe for work” (NSFW). Some of the affected apps are iAlien, Submarine, Narwhal, Eggplant, Antenna, and Baconreader.

The apps are said to be in violation of App Store guideline 18.2, which reads: “Apps that contain user generated content that is frequently pornographic (e.g. “Chat Roulette” Apps) will be rejected.”

The timing is interesting; an official Reddit iOS app was just launched last week. Some observers speculated that Apple was removing the apps at the request of Reddit in hopes of driving users to the official app.

However, the developer of Narwhal, Rick Harrison, denied this, saying that he was informed that Reddit did not make any such request. The developer of the Eggplant client for Reddit was told by Apple that all NSFW content needed to be removed along with an NSFW toggle, even though displaying such content is already turned off by default in the app.

Interestingly, Reddit was also asked to remove a “Safe for Work Browsing” toggle from its official app despite originally putting it in because Apple specifically requested it.

Reddit said in a statement: “We were not informed that Apple would be removing other apps. We were very upset to see that they did. Honestly, if we were interested in getting rid of 3rd party apps (which we’re not!!!), this would be the stupidest possible way to accomplish it.”

“We suggest all 3rd party apps similarly remove settings for safe for work browsing.”

It now appears that some of the removed clients are coming back to the App Store as their developers make the requested changes. 

Rule appears to be applied inconsistently

This is not the first time that Apple has pulled an app on the grounds that it features user-generated content that is possibly pornographic. The firm pulled the 500px photo sharing app in 2013 over concerns that people could use the app to search for nude photographs. That app was reinstated after adding an age gate.

It’s an interesting policy, however, because one could argue that even Apple’s own Safari browser could be used for the same purpose.

Reddit released its own official apps last week for iOS and Android. At that time, they stated that users were welcome to stick with third-party apps and vowed to continue supporting their public API.

Tobias Matthews

Tobias Matthews

Contributor


Writer at Fourth Source.