Monday, 17 December 2018

Goodbye Tumblr As We Know It

Hey guys! I wasn't sure whether or not to write this post, but it's something that's affected me and a lot of my friends so I thought I'd sit down with my laptop and let it all out. I might post it at the end, we'll see. If any of you guys are users of the social media platform Tumblr then you will know what this post is going to be about. A few weeks ago, Tumblr staff announced that from December 17th onwards, all NSFW (Not Safe for Work) content would be banned from the website. Many of you may be thinking, well that's not really a big issue, most websites have regulations on the posting of adult content. However, Tumblr has always been one of the only places to go on the internet to find such a unique bundle of communities existing side by side, a place for the weird and the wonderful, where people could post freely and express themselves, uncensored and in a way that was like no other website. 

Most people who don't use Tumblr have heard mostly negative things about the website and think that it's where all the strange people hang out, I mean it is but that's the great thing about the website! :D I for one can be considered kind of strange, I have quirky interests and a dark sense of humour, and I am a big fan of Tumblr. I love the uniqueness of the website and it sucks that it has been going downhill for so long now. Most of us who use the website love to hate it, and complain about it often but when it comes down to it, it is one of our favourite corners of the web, and it's such a shame that things look like they are going to be changing for the worse. This could very well the end of a website that has been suffering for a while! 

Tumblr Adult Content Ban December 17 2018

*If anyone was wondering, the 'Bad Vibes Eraser' pin above is from a collaboration between Lucky Dip Club X Kitiya Palaskas :) 

So why has Tumblr banned NSFW content?

Tumblr has been having problems for a while in many areas, and despite the fact that users have been constantly complaining, instead of working to fix the factors that are flawed on the site, they have decided to take the easy road out and just put a complete block on all adult content!

If you're not a user of Tumblr but have seen people talking about the changes to come throughout December, you may have had a read up about the problem and think that the ban sounds reasonable. If you are yet to hear anything about it... back in November, the Tumblr app was removed from the Apple store because of child abuse being shared on the website and in response to this, Tumblr have of course had to make decisions to do something about this serious problem. However, the problems that Tumblr has faced have also been seen on other social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, and those websites have put regulations in place to deal with those problems and protect users, whereas Tumblr has decided instead to just censor all content. Users have speculated that this quick fix has come with pressure from Apple so that the website can have its app now allowed back on their store.  For years, the website has had a massive problem with porn bots, which are automated spam profiles filled with porn images and links to dodgy websites. I am constantly having to block them even on my SFW Tumblr account that coincides with this blog. These bots also don't help the problems that already exist on Tumblr, and complaints from users for staff to do something about them has likely also fuelled this content ban. 

Tumblr Adult Content Ban December 17

What does this ban mean for Tumblr's users?

Tumblr is well-known for being an overtly sexual website and this is always viewed in a negative light however what Tumblr actually is, is a website filled with all sorts of brilliant content that yes, is often adult-orientated, but nudity does not equal porn! There is a lot of beautiful, artistic content on Tumblr from drawings, to photography, to digital artwork. It is a unique place where people can display their talents without being censored. So many artists use Tumblr as a platform to show their work and grow their businesses, to find fanbases and to encourage people to visit their websites/online stores and purchase their work. Those people are going to have their livelihoods compromised by the ban. Further more, Tumblr before the ban was also a place were many sex workers advertised their websites and content, and now they are also going to be affected in the same way. 

Not only will the artists and businesses be affected by this ban, but also communities that use Tumblr has a safe space where they can connect with like-minded people and express themselves in a way that they cannot on other websites. This is where the ban impacts me personally. If you've been a regular reader of my blog, you may have seen a couple of posts I've shared about being into kink and BDSM, and although I don't talk about this on here often, other than when I think there's an important message to share, this is a big part of my identity and I do express myself more openly on Tumblr, where there is a community of fellow kinksters. 

Maybe I will share a post dedicated to what it is like to grow up knowing that your preferences are different to those around you and that they are seen as taboo by society, and how isolated that can make you feel, but for now I will just explain how this ties in with Tumblr. When I first discovered the BDSM community on Tumblr, I was still in a place where I felt alone with how I was feeling and didn't know any other people in my life who I could relate to about these things, and it was amazing to have found somewhere were I could freely express myself and share my interests with others, and I made a lot of friends. This had a huge affect on my confidence and my self image, and the way I thought about myself. I built a wonderful support system and learnt to embrace who I was as well as going on a journey of self discovery, as cheesy as may sound. I have Tumblr to thank for that and I love my friends who I met on there so much. I feel sad that for other people this opportunity has been taken away, because I know how much it helped me :( And for all of the other communities affected by this, it is a real shame. 

How will this ban impact the future of the website? 

Already Tumblr's new algorithm that they have put in place to regulate their adult content ban is causing problems for users. Aside from blocking what it's supposed to, the algorithm is also flagging posts that resemble anything that looks like, in Tumblr's own words, 'a female-presenting nipple' or a phallic shape. This includes photographs of people's gemstone collections and geology photography! :D On top of this, the algorithm is additionally flagging content that cannot be construed as sexual at all. This is going to make using the website even more annoying that it always was, with its showing us old notifications again and again, to its refusing to load images and gifs! 

Taking away one of the main things that people use Tumblr for is going to have a severe affect on the website. So many of my friends are already moving over to other websites and I feel like even though many people will stick around (I am going to stay and see what happens!), there is going to be a huge gap in the community and also in the content. It's just not going to be what it once was, and that is crappy. There are so many memes out there about hoping people from your real life don't find your tumblr and its so true! Most peoples blogs on there are made up of their fandom interests, random artwork that they find pretty, memes and humorous content, and NSFW posts. You can find out so much about a person from what they share on their tumblr; it's like a blog, a diary and a Pinterest account all rolled into one! Now it's just not going to be the Tumblr that we know and love. Gone are the days when you're randomly scrolling through cute gifs and fanart in front of your friends or family and suddenly porn appears on your dashboard XD 

Going back to Tumblr's new algorithm, not only is it flagging random photos that resemble NSFW content but it also did something hilarious! Tumblr staff posted a statement on their profile/blog titled 'A better, more positive Tumblr' explaining their decisions and their vision for the websites future, and this post itself was apparently flagged as inappropriate content!! XD To see more fails regarding this new regulation system, look at #TooSexyForTumblr over on Twitter! 

In this statement itself Tumblr has expressed that they have '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', which is great in theory but the website has blocked all NSFW content of which most was causing no harm to anyone, and has allowed other content to remain on the website that is frankly disgusting. One of the specific things that I'm referring to are the white supremacy/Nazi blogs! They want to create a better Tumblr but apparently feel that adults sharing gifs from their favourite pornos is more serious a problem than racism and other forms of prejudice and hate! I hope that very soon, we start to see Tumblr implementing bans for these kinds of posts! And also that it re-establishes its allowance of NSFW content but comes up with a better regulation system to monitor the kind of content posted. I very much doubt that this is going to happen unless Tumblr sees a dramatic reduction in followers and activity on the platform. 

So, who knows how everything is going to turn out on Tumblr!? All I know is that it is not going to be the same platform that it once was; it will no longer hold the same appeal that it did before and although it is still going to be a unique website filled with fandom posts and artistic content, it is going to be very different and I'm not sure how much until I have used the website for a while after the ban. Today, I have been talking part in a 24 hour 'log off protest' with lots of other users, but at this point I don't think Tumblr are going to pay much notice to this. They've probably been lovin' the publicity that their adult content ban has caused! This is another reason why I was considering not sharing this, but I feel like I had to have my say on the matter. I'm not sure that this post is going to be very interesting to read, but if you're a fellow Tumblr user or used to be, then you may find it relatable. I've decided to share this post in the end because I've written so much and it seems a bit of a waste not to! Plus I'm annoyed about this ban, and even though I know that something needed to be done to tackle the problems with criminal content on Tumblr, I just feel like they should have followed the example of other websites and organised a system to monitor and report this VS a complete ban of adult content. If you've made it to this point, then I hope I haven't bored you with my rambling and I really appreciate you taking the time to read my 2,000 word complaint! :D

Thankyou for reading!

I would love to hear everyone's opinion on this ban?

If you're a Tumblr user, how has it affected you? 
And how do you think it will impact the website as a whole?


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