Tumblr, a microblogging service that has had a huge impact on Internet culture, is preparing for a massive change that is sure to upset many of its millions of users.
On December 17, Tumblr will ban pornography, errr “adult content” from its site and will encourage users to flag that content for removal. Existing adult content will be set to a “private mode” that can only be viewed on the original poster.
What does “adult content” even mean? Well, according to Tumblr, the ban means removing any media depicting “real life human genitalia or nipples depicting women, and any content, including photos, videos, GIFs, and illustrations, depicting sexual acts.”
This is much more complicated than just removing a few scenes of hardcore porn from the site. In recent years, Tumblr has become a hub for communities and artists with more adult themes. This is largely due to the fact that adult content has not been allowed from other multimedia-focused social platforms. There are bans on nudity and sexual content on Instagram and Facebook, although Twitter has more relaxed standards.
Because right now? The Tumblr app was removed from the iOS app store several weeks ago due to an issue with content filtering that prompted the company to issue a statement. “We are committed to helping create a safe online environment for all users, and we have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to media depicting child sexual abuse and exploitation,” the company details. “We are continually evaluating additional steps we can take to improve and there is no higher priority for our team.”
We’ve reached out to Tumblr for further comment.
To update: In a blog post titled “A Better, More Positive Tumblr,” company CEO Jeff D’Onofrio downplayed claims that the content ban was related to recent issues involving child pornography, and in his place is meant to turn the platform into one “where more people feel comfortable expressing themselves.”
“As Tumblr continues to grow and evolve, and our understanding of our impact on our world becomes clearer, we have a responsibility to consider that impact on different age groups, demographics, cultures and mindsets,” the post reads. Conclusion: There is no shortage of sites on the Internet that offer adult content. We will leave it to them and focus our efforts on creating the most welcoming environment possible for our community. “
The looming “adult content” ban will not apply to media related to breastfeeding, childbirth or more general “health-related situations” such as surgery, according to the company.
Tumblr also tries to set goals to minimize the impact on the site’s artistic community, but this level of nuance is going to be incredibly difficult for them to apply evenly and will most likely lead to many frustrated users being told that The content does not qualify as “art”.
Tumblr is also looking to minimize the impact on more artistic narratives “such as eroticism, nudity related to political or newsworthy speech, and nudity found in art, such as sculptures and illustrations, are also things that can be done. post freely on Tumblr “.
I don’t know how much it takes to reiterate that child pornography is a major problem plaguing the web, but a blanket ban on adult content on a platform that has brought together so many creatives working on NSFW issues is certainly going to be a pretty one. Controversial decision for the company.