Since Tumblr’s new policy announcement went up a few days ago the site has been in an uproar. The announcement came from the CEO of Tumblr, Jeff D’Onofrio, who said the policy changes come “out of love and hope for our community”.

So what is the policy change and why are people freaking out? On December 17th Tumblr will be banning all adult content except for explicit writing.

This means pornography and nudity. Or as Tumblr puts it “photos, videos, or GIFs that show real-human genitals or female-presenting nipples, and any content—including photos, videos, GIFs and illustrations—that depicts sex acts.”

Now you might be thinking that this is a good thing and that it cleans up the site. It really doesn’t. This policy change and the post flagging that has already started to happen is disproportionally affecting artists and niche communities.

In addition to this, there is explicit content that Tumblr users have been asking the Tumblr staff to take care of for years that they haven’t. This includes banning the accounts of MAPs, better known as paedophiles, and getting rid of porn bots.

This last issue got so rampant recently without the staff doing anything about it that users themselves stepped in and reported these porn bot accountants in mass to try to get rid of the accounts.

Although according to a former engineer at Tumblr said that this policy change has been in the works for months it’s hard to deny that the recent finding of child porn on the site made the higher-ups think they’re doing the right things.

As I said before users have been telling Tumblr to do something about paedophiles prior to this. As someone who uses Tumblr (for fandom stuff), I’ve seen posts calling for people to report any blog using the term MAP or one of their ever evolving flags for years.

If users had been listened to, there wouldn’t be stuff like this on the site. Yes, there would still be porn on the site, but Tumblr already has features that separate porn blogs from the rest of their users.

People can mark their blogs as explicit and anyone who doesn’t want to see it can use safe mode.

A lot of sex workers have found Tumblr a safe place to post and advertise. This seems to be because Tumblr inherently gives users more anonymity then other social media sites.

Tumblr banning them and deleting their accounts will force them to use much shadier sites.

The other large group that is being affected is artists. In the last few days artists have been sharing screenshots of their safe for work art being flagged as explicit.

Because of this many people are saving their Tumblr achieves and telling people what other social media they can be found on.

So will this move by Tumblr be successful? Since it hasn’t gone into affect yet it’s hard to say. But from the reaction to users already and the pre-policy change flagging it isn’t looking good for the future of Tumblr.


Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

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