December 12, 2014 Last Updated 11:40 am

Apple does some App Store housekeeping: porn magazines pulled from the Newsstand

Assuming Apple’s App Store team was responsible, pulling of apps is good news for publishers who most often develop their digital editions for Apple’s Newsstand first

It was done quietly, without any announcement or fanfare – and it was done without the developers raising a fuss in public. Porn magazines from several developers have been pulled from the Apple Newsstand.

Vanilla-iPad

Hidden video content in pulled digital magazine

TNM has, over the course of the past year, complained that Apple’s Newsstand policies have been a joke, with some legacy publishers discouraged from launched digital editions because they may contain nudity, while those from foreign developers, some containing video pornography, have been allowed into the Newsstand. A bit over seven months ago I wrote Apple’s porn business grows with the help of Russian ‘publishers’.

I received a number of emails from readers or developers (including an adult film producer) who thought I was being a prude, but they missed the point: if Apple’s App Store team had no problems with these kinds of magazines in the Newsstand, why should they complain about Playboy or other magazines that might want to also feature nudity?

But there were additional problems with the apps mentioned in the story. Some of them were said to offer one magazine, but actually were apps that drove the reader to other titles. A couple even didn’t sell issues using actual currency amounts, but used a “coins” system that appeared outside the Apple App Store system.

I had several conversations about these apps with Apple representatives, while also talking to them about the fact that the Newsstand has not been maintained (the home page is maintained, but the individual categories remain broken and left alone). But until today, I saw no changes occurring in the Newsstand.

Today, John Gruber of Daring Fireball wrote about an app that got pulled because of “pornographic content.” Gruber wrote that “Apple tends to err on the side of running the App Store with Disney-esque family values.”

I haven’t been seeing these “Disney-esque family values” on display inside the Newsstand so I started an email to Gruber which would include links to the magazine apps mentioned in the TNM story.

That is when I discovered they had, at long last, been pulled from the Newsstand.

I consider this excellent news, and let us hope this is just the start of the cleaning up of the App Store. Next should be a reorganization of the Newsstand, with the categories again maintained. (Another option would be to simply eliminate the Newsstand.)

Again, let me repeat: I have never objected to the presence of these digital magazines simply because of their content, but because they clearly violated the terms and conditions of Apple’s own developer guidelines. And while I would have no problem with Apple creating a “Mature” category in the App Store or Newsstand, I certainly understand how difficult this would be to maintain and monitor, and what trouble it might cause Apple from a publicity point-of-view.

(I should also point out, that it is possible that Apple wasn’t the one who pulled the titles, but the developers… but I doubt it.)

  • Nick martin 2 years ago

    Let’s hope this is indeed a step in the right direction from Apple 🙂