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Verizon takes aim at Tumblr’s kneecaps, bans all adult content

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As a Tumblr user, I found this response to be spot on:


"Firstly, and most importantly, this is anti-sex. This move says that sex/sexuality/being sexual is bad. Tumblr has made it official that they do not want sex on their website. Tumblr is happy to have anything on their site, except gore, child pornography, criminal activity, ect; all of these things are considered to be (in broad strokes) bad. Added to this list is now sex, which can only really be interpreted as say sex is as bad as that other content ban on Tumblr.


Secondly, this move is going to have some harm to young LGBTQAI+ people. These effects will be limited, but real and damaging, to those who are vulnerable and still trying to come to terms with their sexuality. Tumblr presents these young people with opportunity to view and explore queer pornographic content (in an attempt to help come to terms with their sexuality) while it is easier to hide from, and work around restrictions placed by, authority figures (parents/guardians) who may be hostile LGBTQIA+ people. Cutting this content out of Tumblr will destroy a very good place of young queer expression.


Thirdly, this limits artistic expression. The difference between porn and art has always been difficult. Policing what is erotic art, what is pornography, what is nude photography is a tall order and one that can only go wrong. Already, things that aren’t porn have been flagged on my blog, while things that are have gone untouched. Algorithms learn through failure, however I don’t want to be one of the guinea pigs it learns on, trying to figure out how to ban the porn I like. This can only lead to wrongful take downs and problem after problem for those whose blogs straddle the porn/art line that will be so arbitrarily drawn.


Fourthly, a double standard has been applied with regards to the gender of nipples. It seems so obvious, and yet a purportedly progressive website like Tumblr has gone a tripped over an obvious catch of censorship. Women’s nipples are considered obscene, for no useful reason reason, and Tumblr seems fine to enforce this narrative. It is sexist, it places gender queer people in an annoying spot, and it will be hard to police what is a female nipple, and what isn’t.


And number five, who asked for this? NSFW and pornographic content can already be filtered out if a user so wishes. If those filters aren’t working and content that is unwanted is still coming through: it shows that the filter won’t work when implemented against all pornography, that the problem isn’t that their is pornography on Tumblr but that user’s ability to regulate their feed isn’t working and that the solution of banning this content is disproportionate.


Tumblr has every right to do this. It is their platform, they can decide to allow or not to allow whatever they want. However, we as consumers to choose not to use a product if it no longer supplies our demands. It honestly feels like a betrayal and I don’t think that it is good, necessary or desired by the majority.


I have personally loved Tumblr for its mix of content. From the funny to the sexy, from fetishistic to political, from dick pics to portraits, all have been present and welcome here. It has always been a delight to me being able to scroll down my feed and see hot women and men having unique, extraordinary sex and then have that immediately followed by a meme from #Auspol. If that isn’t here any longer, I hardly see why I need to be."

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