Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Tumblr Bans All Porn, Including Female-Presenting Nipples, But Not Nazis

[TRIGGER WARNING: DISCUSSION OF CHILD PORN, NAZIS, CISSEXISM]

I'm on Tumblr a lot, if you couldn't tell. So I'm basically watching Tumblr implode in real time.

Here's what happened. Tumblr started out allowing "adult content" in all forms except for of course illegal content like child porn. For years, it did little to combat increasingly overwhelming problems with porn bots, child porn barely disguised as legal pornography, hentai so clearly depicting minors and even being tagged with words that everyone knows means "underage" but it's not advertised as child porn, etc. Tumblr users, meanwhile, were constantly railing against this issue and begging the company to do something about it.

Finally, the Tumblr app got pulled from app stores. With their ad revenue threatened, Tumblr finally leapt into action. By which I mean rapidly cobbling together a bot meant to purge accounts that posted child porn. Predictably, the bot was shit. Tons of perfectly innocent blogs that never posted any kind of porn were shut down and had to appeal to Tumblr to get reactivated.

It was a shit show, but things were settling back to normal, porn bots and all.

Then, yesterday, the announcement came that all "adult content" would be banned from Tumblr starting on December 17. I'm not sure if this is some desperate bid to get back on the Apple app store (it is back on the Google Play store, I checked), but it's not going well. Firstly, they say that this is going to be implemented on the 17th, and yet Tumblr is full of screenshotted posts that have been flagged as inappropriate, including a photo of a dog's tummy, because uhhhh dog nipples?

Yes, there is a nipple ban included in this. Tumblr literally phrased it this way:

Adult content primarily 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

The entire internet is now dragging Tumblr over "female-presenting nipples," a phrase that Tumblr users have speculated was thoroughly discussed and focus-grouped over at Tumblr headquarters/Yahoo/Verizon. I don't know why they bothered. There is no way to gender or ban nipples that will be acceptable to Tumblr users, because we know it's fucking bullshit from every angle. I would have been better just to take language directly from Facebook or Twitter. We would have hated it but you wouldn't be getting so relentlessly pounded with memes right now (yes I did mean to make that sound like porn).




Fan-fucking-tastic.

And the final most ridiculous thing among a massive pile of ridiculousness involved in this "adult content" ban is the fact that Tumblr has STILL NOT BANNED NAZIS. Something even fucking WaPo has picked up on.


Me looking from the WaPo article to Tumblr

Now, Tumblr has, unlike other social media companies, made an explicit exception for "female-presenting nipples" in art, breastfeeding photos, and anything used for the purpose of health information such as breast cancer PSAs. Good for you, Tumblr! Of course, because you SUCK AT EVERYTHING YOU DO, your bots are not only flagging paintings of Truth Coming Out of Her Well to Shame Mankind, they're flagging DOG NIPPLES.

Meanwhile, you know who gets fucked in all this? Sex workers. As always.

Nobody asked for an overall "adult content" ban. We wanted porn bots to stop bothering us, we wanted child porn gone, and we want NAZIS AND OTHER HATEFUL EXTREMISTS banned. Not "female-presenting nipples" on adults in any form.

There is widespread speculation on Tumblr now that the entire platform will not survive. Posts are circulating about alternatives. A lot of people are making jokes, but I would be incredibly sad if Tumblr were deleted. Tumblr users have gifted me so much education and new perspectives. I credit Tumblr users for so much of my personal growth throughout my 20s, creative and personal revelations, ideas for articles that have advanced my career, and not to mention the incredible friends I've made through the platform. It really sucks that Verizon has damaged the site so much. I love the ability to write as much as I want in one post and post all kinds of other content and reply to people easily and in multiple forms. I still can't really get into Twitter and Facebook is Facebook. I don't even get Instagram.

I think I am going to sign up for Pillowfort and maybe try out one other alternative to Tumblr just in case. Maybe the bulk of the community will migrate and everything will be fine for a while, but I fully expect that in a few years capitalism will ruin that, too.

Yes, everything is capitalism's fault.

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