The Tumblr Disaster of 2018 | Forum

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Maklarr4000
Maklarr4000 Dec 4
So, as some have probably noticed, I've been a Tumblr user for many years now- going back to 2012. The site has definitely seen better days (being a property milked dry by it's corporate owner Verizon), but it always seemed to keep chugging along.

Then, it happened. Following reports that some sketchy individuals posted illegal child pornography, Tumblr's mobile app was removed from the iOS App store. While a massive effort was undertaken to wipe the site of the offending content, it seemed Verizon had had enough. Enter Mr. Jeff D'Onofrio, and the move to kill Tumblr.

I'm not even going to bother screenshotting this man's wall of text, it'll be added in a post below if you really want to read it. The gist is, virtually anything deemed inappropriate will be removed by an automated system that has, so far, proven to be wildly inconsistent.


It's never been a secret that, under the surface, Tumblr is host to a myriad of adult-oriented content of all sorts, but it's estimated that this drives upwards of 35% of Tumblr's daily traffic. removing that portion of the userbase from a website that's already struggling to hold users is a major blow, and one that it seems unlikely Tumblr will recover from. The final nail in the coffin.

Maklarr4000
Maklarr4000 Dec 4
Mr. Jeff D'Onofrio's Eulogy for Tumblr:


A better, more positive Tumblr

Since its founding in 2007, Tumblr has always been a place for wide open, creative self-expression at the heart of community and culture. To borrow from our founder David Karp, we’re proud to have inspired a generation of artists, writers, creators, curators, and crusaders to redefine our culture and to help empower individuality.

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. We’ve realized that in order to continue to fulfill our promise and place in culture, especially as it evolves, we must change. Some of that change began with fostering more constructive dialogue among our community members. Today, we’re taking another step by no longer allowing adult content, including explicit sexual content and nudity (with some exceptions).  

Let’s first be unequivocal about something that should not be confused with today’s policy change: posting anything that is harmful to minors, including child pornography, is abhorrent and has no place in our community. We’ve always had and always will have a zero tolerance policy for this type of content. To this end, we continuously invest in the enforcement of this policy, including industry-standard machine monitoring, a growing team of human moderators, and user tools that make it easy to report abuse. We also closely partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Internet Watch Foundation, two invaluable organizations at the forefront of protecting our children from abuse, and through these partnerships we report violations of this policy to law enforcement authorities. We can never prevent all bad actors from attempting to abuse our platform, but we make it our highest priority to keep the community as safe as possible.

So what is changing?

Posts that contain adult content will no longer be allowed on Tumblr, and we’ve updated our Community Guidelines to reflect this policy change. We recognize Tumblr is also a place to speak freely about topics like art, sex positivity, your relationships, your sexuality, and your personal journey. We want to make sure that we continue to foster this type of diversity of expression in the community, so our new policy strives to strike a balance.

Why are we doing this?

It is our continued, humble aspiration that Tumblr be a safe place for creative expression, self-discovery, and a deep sense of community. As Tumblr continues to grow and evolve, and our understanding of our impact on our world becomes clearer, we have a responsibility to consider that impact across different age groups, demographics, cultures, and mindsets. 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.

Bottom line: There are no shortage of sites on the internet that feature adult content. We will leave it to them and focus our efforts on creating the most welcoming environment possible for our community.

So what’s next?

Starting December 17, 2018, we will begin enforcing this new policy. Community members with content that is no longer permitted on Tumblr will get a heads up from us in advance and steps they can take to appeal or preserve their content outside the community if they so choose. All changes won’t happen overnight as something of this complexity takes time.

Another thing, filtering this type of content versus say, a political protest with nudity or the statue of David, is not simple at scale. We’re relying on automated tools to identify adult content and humans to help train and keep our systems in check. 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.

Most importantly, we’re going to be as transparent as possible with you about the decisions we’re making and resources available to you, including more detailed information, product enhancements, and more content moderators to interface directly with the community and content.

Like you, we love Tumblr and what it’s come to mean for millions of people around the world. Our actions are out of love and hope for our community. We won’t always get this right, especially in the beginning, but we are determined to make your experience a positive one.

Jeff D’Onofrio
CEO

Maklarr4000
Maklarr4000 Dec 4
Alex Hirsch, creator of the iconic Disney show "Gravity Falls" had this to say about the platform that helped propel his show to new heights:



Maklarr4000
Maklarr4000 Dec 4
Here are a few examples of posts that have been flagged as "explicit" by the Tumblr algorithm.







Maklarr4000
Maklarr4000 Dec 4
...and here come the memes!








Maklarr4000
Maklarr4000 Dec 4
Now, to make a case that no one else seems to be making, the Tumblr community guidelines have been dramatically overhauled, and while the "porn ban" definitely has the publics' attention, the blog I run and the blogs I follow are affected in another way- content that can be perceived as "inappropriate, shocking, or offensive".

Oddly enough, photographs from World War Two could be perceived as being inappropriate (there are an awful lot of Nazis in the pictures from the war where we fought the Nazis. Crazy, I know.) Photos of battles, bombings, destruction, and other military actions are often flagged for their "shocking" nature, and virtually anything can be stuffed under the overly vague umbrella of "offensive". A few examples I've had targeted this way include a photo of a 1972 Soviet Military parade, a photo of an Israeli tank, and virtually any image that depicts a weapon of any sort.

My concern is that, as awful as the initial "porn ban" may be, the repercussions of this are much deeper and their effects much wider than anyone realizes. Thousands of people are now asking "where do I go now?" and that includes everything from horror blogs, true crime blogs, and history blogs like mine. It's always sad to see a website go down in flames, and this certainly feels like that all over again.
Maklarr4000
Maklarr4000 Dec 4


heh heh heh
Jasper
Jasper Dec 9
Lol tumblr is dead now
Maklarr4000
Maklarr4000 Dec 10
It seems most people are leaving, either for fear of bans or in protest. In the event I don't get banned, I still plan to vacate the place in solidarity with those that choose not to support Verizon's terrible decisions.
Maklarr4000
Maklarr4000 Dec 17
Tumblr is "sorry" and that's funny to me.




Articles on the Tumblr content purge of 2018 can be found here:

PC Magazine

USA Today

Gizmodo

Maklarr4000
Maklarr4000 Dec 17
College Humor has their take on it.



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