Apple removed 10 apps from App Store after being flagged by App Danger Project AI tool


The New York Times is putting a spotlight on an ongoing challenge Apple faces with the App Store, and what parents are doing about it.

The piece highlights a website called the App Danger Project. The website uses a machine algorithm to provide two resources for parents.

First is a list of apps “with at least some reviews indicating dangerousness” that have been flagged by the project.

App Danger Project currently lists 182 apps across Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store that meet its criteria for dangerousness. The list can be filtered by platform. Filtering to only Apple narrows down the list to 146 apps.

The website also includes a tool that lets anyone search for apps from both app stores and analyze their reviews. This is based on reviews returned in the search that mention child porn, pedophiles, and other indicators that the app is being used for child exploitation.

For example, Snapchat returns 23 reviews “that indicate that this app is unsafe for children.” The same search returns no flagged reviews for Instagram, but Facebook is marked with four reviews that warn of security concerns.

App Store reviews written by users don’t automatically mean the app is actually being used for child exploitation, of course, and all online communication is susceptible to the danger. That’s why Apple has built features on iPhone that help protect minors from potentially exploitive images.

According to the New York Times, however, Apple removed 10 apps from the App Store after investigating the App Danger Project list.

Apple also investigated the apps listed by the App Danger Project and removed 10 that violated its rules for distribution. It declined to provide a list of those apps or the reasons it took action.

“Our App Review team works 24/7 to carefully review every new app and app update to ensure it meets Apple’s standards,” a spokesman said in a statement.

Read the full piece from the New York Times for a background on how the App Danger Project started and what its founders hope to achieve.

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