Tumblr Announces Plans to Censor Sexually Graphic Images
By Tess Farrand, Staff Writer
Tumblr is an interactive social media platform that allows users to engage in what’s called “microblogging,” a way to connect with other users by sharing photos, writing and videos. Recently, the Apple App Store took down the option to download Tumblr after reports of images of child sexual abuse showed up. This controversy pushed the site to reorient content censoring in a big way.
Last week Starbucks announced that they’d block pornography on their stores WiFi. This week Tumblr announced they’ll be getting rid of adult content on their social media platform altogether. The changes will start in the coming weeks on December 17th. According to Statistica, as of October 2018, Tumblr had 441.4 million blog accounts dating back 2011. This means millions upon millions of users had access to harmful images. Although in years past, Tumblr’s wasn’t the picture of clean, hopefully, that will soon be a distant memory.
In a statement, the popular social media site said, “we spent considerable time weighing the pros and cons of expression in the community that includes adult content. In doing so, it became clear that without this content we have the opportunity to create a place where more people feel comfortable expressing themselves.”
The Verge lays out the criteria of the upcoming switch. *Please be mindful of descriptive language, “banned content includes photos, videos, and GIFs of human genitalia, female-presenting nipples, and any media involving sex acts, including illustrations. The exceptions include nude classical statues and political protests that feature nudity.” The list continues, “new guidelines exclude text, so erotica remains permitted. Illustrations and art that feature nudity are still okay — so long as sex acts aren’t depicted — and so are breastfeeding and after-birth photos.”
Thankfully, Tumblr is being open and honest about navigating the new territory. “We’re relying on automated tools to identify adult content and humans to help train and keep our systems in check,” Tumblr said. “We know there will be mistakes, but we’ve done our best to create and enforce a policy that acknowledges the breadth of expression we see in the community.” Explicit images that do not meet Tumblr’s new guidelines will be flagged and later deleted.
This is a step in the right direction. We’re are pleased that major companies with influence are establishing healthy measures to protect their users from unnecessary and graphic content.