We’ve recently been contacted by Apple’s review team after one of their routine content audits. During their audit, they found a number of series they believe violate Apple’s internal safety guidelines (https://developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines/). We use similar wording in our own Content Policy Guidelines (https://help.tapas.io/hc/en-us/articles/115005323707), and have always believed in contextualizing reports of mature scenes on Tapas. If the mature scenes in question contributed positively towards character or story development, then we felt those scenes were not in violation of either Tapas or Apple’s guidelines.
As stewards of digital publishing, we find that it’s incredibly important to create a safe space for creators to freely express themselves creatively, to tell stories that you can’t find anywhere else, and to connect with readers from all around the world.
The iOS version of the Tapas App has been age rated as 17+ due to the open publishing nature of our platform. We’re home to over 70,000 stories and among those a sizable portion contain an episode utilizing the mature filter. We felt that the 17+ rating was merited, and we always tried our best to curate and facilitate a safe reading experience by creating an opt in experience for reading any mature episodes.
We’ve been servicing the Tapas App through the Apple App Store for the past 5 years, and have always complied and coordinated with creators for content policy guideline violations. We firmly believe that we’ve been interpreting and upholding the spirit of the policies in good faith, and that the works published by the Tapas community fell well within the boundaries of what was allowed by Apple’s policy. However, the severity in which they’ve interpreted their policies for this round of audits has forced Tapas to make some changes otherwise face removal from the App store entirely.
We’ve tried to come up with more amicable solutions that wouldn’t negatively impact creators. We’ve been working around the clock and submitting a number of different iterations which were all unfortunately rejected by Apple.
That being said, we will not be making changes or updates to our Content Policy Guidelines, and will continue to support creators who choose to create and publish mature works on Tapas. However, Tapas will be curating comics and novels in a different manner moving forward specifically for the iOS version of the Tapas app which will abide closer to the guidelines set forth by Apple.
Series that have been flagged will not be searchable on the iOS version, but will remain accessible via the library if you were previously subscribed, or subscribe via the mobile web or web platform. Certain keywords and tags will also be inaccessible via search. All series will remain readily searchable and accessible on the mobile web and web platforms. We will not be editing or removing any flagged series from our services.
We will be working with creators to ensure that they are given ample opportunities to make edits to their episodes if they wish to remain accessible on the iOS app. We’ll be sending out emails and notifications to all creators negatively impacted by these changes.
We hope that this change doesn’t deter healthy explorations of mature themes, and we deeply apologize for the inconvenience.
Something that I’ve always loved about Tapas is that we’re a home for an incredibly diverse and wildly imaginative group of creators and world builders. We’re a home for stories that celebrate diversity, and speak truth to our everyday lives. Stories that aren’t afraid to open dialogue for challenging conversations, and to showcase mature themes through artistic endeavors. So while these changes may be intimidating, we remain committed to telling stories that you can’t find anywhere else.
If you have any questions, I’m here to help.
Editor in Chief