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Tumblr to ban adult content; allows lit-erotica, nude art

Tumblr has announced the permanent banning of “adult content” on its website starting 17 December. Jeff D’Onofrio, the CEO of Tumblr, also wrote a post “A better, more positive Tumblr“.

Tumblr describes adult content as posts that include

  • “photos, videos, or GIFs that show real-life human genitals or
  • female-presenting nipples and
  • any content- including photos, videos, GIFs and illustrations that depicts sex acts.”

What is permitted:

  • “exposed females- presenting nipples in connection with breastfeeding,
  • birth or after-birth moments, and
  • health-related situations, such as post- mastectomy or gender confirmation surgery.”
  • “written content such as erotica, nudity related to political or newsworthy speech,
  • nudity found in art, such as sculptures and illustrations”

Though Tumblr did not indicate what prompted the change in policy, the move comes after Apple removed Tumblr from its iOS App Store last month after after child pornography was found on the site.

Also read:
Facebook removed 8.7M pieces of child abuse content
– Facebook adds tools to block revenge porn on the platform

Reporting and flagging content

Under the new policy, users can report content they deem to be unfit for platform. Tumblr will send out email notices to the users whose content has been flagged. Those posts turn to a private setting, viewable only by the person who posted it, preventing them from being reblogged or shared further. If a person believes that their content has been incorrectly categorised, they have an option of appealing the decision. This option of appealing is however, available on the web or the Tumblr Android app version 12.2. An iOS user will have to appeal on the web.

For content (blogs, not posts) marked explicit before 17 December, Tumblr will overlay content filters. This content, in violation with Tumblr’s policy, will be actioned accordingly, Tumblr said. Users less than 18 years of age will not be allowed to see this content, and posts from these blogs will not appear on search results.

Tumblr and filtering content

  • In August, 2018, Tumblr published new community guidelines in which it said it won’t tolerate hate speech, glorification of violence and its perpetrators. It also disallowed the posting of sexually explicit photos of people without their consent.
  • In June 2017, Tumblr rolled out a “Safe Mode” to hide the sensitive content in a user’s Tumblr Dashboard.
  • According to an article on TechCrunch, Tumblr added a switch in the iOS settings that allowed a person to turn on pornographic content.

Tumblr was founded in 2007 by David Karp. In 2013, Yahoo bought Tumblr. Yahoo became part of a unit called Oath, which is owned by Verizon. Karp left last year.

Also read: After Google and Twitter, Facebook explains its content policy (2015)

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