Tumblr to Ban ‘Adult Content.’ Some Users Aren’t Happy

Laura Stampler...

Tumblr plans to ban “adult content” from its service starting Dec. 17, the company told users on Monday.

This announcement comes two weeks after the micro-blogging site was kicked off of Apple’s App Store because some users had posted and downloaded photographs of child sex abuse. As of this article’s publication, the app hadn’t yet returned to Apple’s app store.

Tumblr, which is owned by Verizon subsidiary Oath, told users on Nov. 19 about its “zero tolerance policy when it comes to media featuring child sexual exploitation and abuse.” On Monday, CEO Jeff D’Onofrio went further in a blog post by announcing that the site wouldn’t allow adult porn “including explicit sexual content and nudity (with some exceptions).”

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

So what’s banned? According to the new guidelines, barred content includes “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.” Users who have posted material that Tumblr believes doesn’t comply with its new content standards will be notified via email and have the opportunity to appeal.

According to research reported on by Vice in 2016, while less than 1% of Tumblr’s then-130 million users posted pornography, approximately 22% of users viewed it while 28% of users were “unintentionally exposed” to pornography.

Thus, many have taken to Twitter to question Tumblr’s continued viability:

Others have expressed concern about the ban on LGBTQ erotic art. (It should be noted that Tumblr says nudity --but not sex acts-- depicted in sculpture, illustrations, will be allowed to remain, “real-life human genitals” in video or photographic form will not. Written erotica is allowable as well.)

Tumblr declined to provide further comment about the reaction of its users to the ban.

Said D’Onofrio in his blog, “Over the past several months, and inspired by our storied past, we've given serious thought to who we want to be to our community moving forward and have been hard at work laying the foundation for a better Tumblr.”

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