Ffffound finds trouble in the Marketplace. Adult content rears its head again.

A few weeks ago we highlighted a new app called Ffffound by developer RogueCode. The app, based off of the website Ffffound.com, quickly became one of the more popular apps in the Marketplace, earning excellent reviews from users. The app pulls images from Ffffound.com and allows the user to view, save, favorite and even share the images in a elegant and beautiful way.

However, there were some memory issues with the app, causing crashes on the Samsung Focus. The developer quickly dispatched an update to fix that but in turn, that broke the 'save' option for many users. Not to be deterred, RogueCode quickly sent out another update but this one hit a snag: Microsoft suddenly rejected it based on the grounds that the app showed 'adult content', specifically images with partial nudity. 

Now the developer is in a bind: he can't filter those images automatically and therefore can't push out his update. He would, in essence, have to filter them manually resulting in large delays before you saw the image--not to mention all the work involved. Result? Consumers lose.

This is reminiscent of the app ImageWind, which pulled a stream of photos from Twitter. That app too was pulled from the Marketplace only to appear months later with a 'safety filter'. Now, in doing this story, we learned that app received another update (v1.3) and they have completely removed the Twitter feed altogether as Microsoft still wasn't happy with the "Flickr as a filter' option. ImageWind is now just a Flickr-streaming app, losing its original purpose.

So we ask the question: Does Microsoft need to revise its policy on 'adult content'? Perhaps offering a way for us adults (the majority) to opt-in? We of course think so but we want to hear what you have to say. And maybe, just maybe, Microsoft will listen.

In the meantime, we're not sure what will happen to Ffffound, which is a real shame.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Isn't that how it works on Flick+Share?  You have to click that you understand that someone might've uploaded inappropriate content before you can browse through nearby pictures.
  • Thanks for the mention, Judge_Daniel.
    It's true, we at flick+share show a warning message before users can browse through the possibly offensive nearby photos.  However, this has proven unsufficient for the marketplace reviewers as we've had an update blocked for offensive content. 
    After publishing on WP7 first, we launched on Android (and soon iPhone) as well.  Those app stores include assigning a rating during submission and even cover the general case of "user submitted content" to help guide developers.  It's an effective way for people of an appropriate age to enjoy content in apps like these and to warn parents of the potential for offensive content.
    It is surprising to see some fun and useful apps such as ours and ffffound rejected for an occasional offensive photo from a user community when 'hot girls' apps are so prolific.  I believe the marketplace rules need clarification and refinement.
    Thanks for your support!
    Colin Hodge
    Cloud 8 Studios
  • To every FFFFound user: I am EXTREMELY sorry about the update for saving not getting through certification. That bug should never have got through QA. The ratings of the app have dropped dramatically because of this, plus you guys don't get to save. So once again, sorry. I have presonally replied to every email I received about the problem - so thanks for those people for reaching out.
    As a temorary fix what you can do is to click the fullscreen button on an image and tap the title at the top to open it in IE. And then save the image from there.
    Matt AKA RogueCode
  • Matt, thanks for the response...you should tell Microsoft that FFFFound.com works like a modern art magazine...they can't put restrictions to ART. What they could do is, to put a sign inside the marketplace, which will inform everyone that apps like this might contain nudity....so, parents will know if it is appropriate for the kids or not.
  • I agree that Microsoft should continue to reject apps that present adult content. Enough apps like that have already gotten through.
  • Well no, they just need age restrictions.
  • If you want to live inside a monastery, you'd better be a monk. Apps with adult content should have a sign which will prevent people who are afraid of naked bodies, to install them.
  • I agree
  • I think they should keep it clean but also some of those pictures may be alduts only but it does not mean but that it has to be necessary pornographic so why not let the user decide if you want to see it or not? Maybe a tag where you have to confirm your age (and have your age in your windows ID so it correct) you don't want anything to do with them, just don't download the app. I also don't like so many religious apps but I just Don't download them instead of complaining and ask for them to be removed or controled because I know there is others users that want them and they have their right as well.
  • I am a developer working on a new reddit viewer app called Baconit. I submitted my first version to the market almost a month ago and it got rejected for adult content and language. I am still trying to work with Microsoft to get the app added to the market. The most interesting thing I think is that there are already a number of reddit apps on the market that have no filtering at all.
  • I'm still lurking in r/BaconitWP, waiting for the day when I can use this app :(
  • I don't understand why pornographic apps are in the Marketplace but an app like this gets the harsh treatment from Microsoft? That's just crazy.  This app was not intended for pornography purpose and MS should see that.  People are always going to find a way to put explicit material on their phones, whether it is an app, pictures, video or even music so I think MS needs an opt-in function that is coded in at the OS level and protected by a password.  It exists on our XBox 360s so it's not like they are unfamilar with the concept.  That will make parents like me very happy!  
  • That's right! That is an art oriented app...
  • So senseless...
    Everyone can use the Internet Explorer and surf to the mobile Youporn page for example and watch real porn. If they are taking the censoring, I mean protecting the youngsters seriously, they should delete IE9.
  • If I can type 'beaver' into IE on my phone and get images of little furry animals I dont see why this sort of app is disallowed.
  • What's a beaver? I thought that's all they were were little furry animals.
  • Microsoft shouldn't take negative action against a product that is essentially a search engine with features. It doesn't produce or sponsor the content, it merely allows you access to it... but so does Bing and so does Google, if you opt-in, so where's the problem?
    If, however, I see one more "Sexy Wallpapers" app, I may actually scream and punch someone.
  • Personally, I am sick and tired of everyone catering to the lowest common denominator.  I'm sick of people whose main joy in life seems to be the endless abuse and exploitation of other people and gratuitous sex.  It's no wonder we see younger and younger children oversexualized.  You people need to get your minds out of the gutter.  Try elevating yourselves somewhere above the level of a couple of stray dogs rutting in an alleyway.  There are plenty of other avenues, including simply going to websites---that have no filters on them at all---to get your depraved jollies.  I'm happy with Microsoft's stance on adult content. @Cyruss1989 is exactly correct.
  • Sigh.  To call the images in Ffffound "adult content" would be the same as calling "figure drawing" adult content.  There are no degrading pornographic images, there are no sexually explicit images.  It's essentially what I would call "hipster art" and what you see is no different than what you would see in the Museum for Modern Art in NYC.  Let's not make this into a cultural conflict.  Cut out the "lowest common denominator" nonsense.  
    It's plainly obvious from the comments who has actually used Ffffound and who hasn't; I can't believe anyone would equate the images found in this app with "stray dogs rutting in an alleyway."  Talk about baseless hyperbole.
  • Well, I'd say every once in a while there is actual "adult content" like that one a couple days back. "Lucy [something] unzips for Nut Magazine" and that was unquestionably NSFW.
    I was in a restaurant at the time, looking for new wallpapers, and i was afraid the waitress had seen it. >_<
  • FFFFound.com is about modern urban ART... I wouldn't look inside an art magazine for wallpapers...
  • it just proves you're straight, whats wrong with that? lol
  • Big news for you adult content does not mean sexually explicit or pornography, there is some news that may show images of war that are takes as adult or sensible for younger audiences, even when you see shows that are medical related they have their message "not suitable for younger audiences" it may be just language, and much other examples because they may talk or show images that may be to crude for sensible people, not always of sexual nature.
    I had an app denied before in IPhone because a romantic poem said to "kiss on your skin or lips" nothing else because it was adult content and not for younger audiences. Is that sexually exploitation of others for you? The problem who is to decide and how inflexible it can be that becomes too much censoring and cause problems with users and developers as well.
    There are clear things that should not be allowed, that are very clear (explicit pornography of any kind) we are not saying there should be any control at all of the content. I am pretty sure that some sick nasty things can show and we don’t need that you can go to any computer and use any search engine to find it.
    If for these opinions  we should close museums that show statues and paintings of nude people, there should be no radio or TV show with sexual therapist because that is adult content so literally translates into pornography and exploitation and is for sick people ... please
  • You want to step down from your soapbox? You make it seem like anyone that isn't ashamed and have no problem looking at adult material is wrong. Well, im pretty damn well adjusted myself.
  • I was joking... 
  • Microsoft needs to get a little more up to date with its user base and realize most of us adults! Hurry up and develop an age rating for apps and then allow people to opt in or out or somehow tie it to our LiveID's as aren't they registered with a DOB?
  • The particularly annoying thing is that they already do have age-based filtering on the rest of the Zune marketplace, how hard would it be for developers to simply tick a checkbox to turn off sales to those with "Child" Live IDs? My brother has a child account, since his Live ID actually has his real age of 14, and the amount of times an over-18 account has to verify that he can do something is crazy, so for MS not to actually use this in the Apps marketplace at all makes no sense whatsoever. It's a small job to add a quick allow/deny system for over 18 content, and would end pointless debates like this where an app gets sidelined for the possibility that someday, it might randomly display a slightly "adult" image.
  • Ahh. . . . ! That's such a great app, i used it all the time! I was wondering why MS had rejected the update.
    The question is, what can developers do for their app that potentially, and unintentionally, show an NSFW content?
  • I was disappointed when I installed ImageWind because I thought it was pulling images from Twitter and it turned out it was pulling images from Flickr. Those who installed ImageWind early on are the lucky ones.
    At least the ImageWind.net website still pulls from Twitter.
  • Would it be possible to have a device wide setting.
    So for example a parent could activate a setting on the phone (would have to be password protected I guess) which says, 'this is a child's phone'. Or maybe it should be an opt in, "This is an adults phone".
    If the phone belonged to a child the marketplace could filter results and not show the 'adult content' apps.
    A simpler idea would be to put a disclaimer you have to agree with when you install the app, although that wouldn't prevent it being downloaded by minors.
  • They effectively have this already - The Zune Marketplace distinguishes between a child's Live ID (for those under the age of majority in their region) and an adult's Live ID, and a child can't purchase anything without an adult account verifying what content they're allowed to buy.
    It would make sense to enable this functionality for applications as well as Music/TV/etc.
  • FFFFound even features artistic pics of porn scenes sometimes...but it's ART!!! I think that Microsoft should revise their policy because this will end like fascism.
  • This is why we need a side-load based marketplace. Something like Cydia where developers can have their apps to buy that aren't allowed by Microsoft. I think someone could come up with sometype of registration system that runs when the app starts and checks if its registered. If the phone doesn't have Internet, it allows 2-3 opens before it requires an Internet connection to run to check for a license.
  • Because God forbid some 10 year old sees a wayward boobie......it'll be the end of civilization. 
    And exactly who is MS protecting here? Shouldn't any self respecting adult be intelligent enough to make up their own mind on what kinds of apps they want to download or not without impeding on everyone else's enjoyment?
    And if we are talking about protecting children, what child needs to be in possession of a smart phone that has access to a Zune Marketplace or any other OS app store in the first place?
  • I thought Microsoft said that they were going to introduce the ability to classify M (for Mature) content (games and apps) with Mango.  Does anyone remember that MS was advertising a Splinter Cell game for WP over the summer, yet they then corrected themselves in saying it wouldn't be released until Mango as it was going to be an M rated game?  WTF happened to that feature for Mango?  MS needs to step their game up.
  • Not sure if I'm comparing apples to apples, but what about all the apps from that developer, "Bottomless" ?
    Having fiddled with one of those apps, (i think) it pulls naked images from the web based on the search. Am I wrong? All of "Bottomless" 's apps are still out there. Is there a loophole in the rules and/or with the way the app works that prevents those apps from being seen as breaking the rules?
  • It's because those apps require you to search for something adult to get adult results - which the testers don't test for (it looks like).