Tumblr has decided to ban all porn, weeks after the blogging platform was found hosting child pornography.
Starting on Dec. 17, Tumblr will begin enforcing the new policy, which will outlaw “adult content”—including photos, videos, and GIFs depicting sex acts—from the site. Blogs that have been flagged as hosting the content will be “reverted to a private setting” viewable only to the owner.
Tumblr CEO Jeff D’Onofrio said the porn ban was designed to make the blogging platform a “safe place” for all users.
“We spent considerable time weighing the pros and cons of expression in the community that includes adult content,” he wrote in a Monday blog post. “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.”
Last month, Tumblr said its iOS app was pulled from the Apple Store over child pornography found on the platform. According to a Twitter user who claimed to have found the illegal content, Tumblr had initially failed to take down the images, despite repeated complaints about the problem. (As of Monday, the Tumblr app is still unavailable on Apple’s App Store.)
However, D’Onofrio said the upcoming ban stems not from the child pornography incident, but from “several months” of discussion over how to improve the social media service. In August, for instance, the platform introduced new community guidelines, explicitly banning hate speech.
“Bottom line: There are no shortage of sites on the internet that feature adult content,” D’Onofrio said. “We will leave it to them and focus our efforts on creating the most welcoming environment possible for our community.”
The porn ban is bad news for erotic artists, many of whom were using Tumblr to promote their work. Prior to Monday’s announcement, Tumblr had already been embarking on a NSFW porn purge that had claimed numerous blogs, according to users.
Going forward, Tumblr said it’s going to only allow written erotic-based content, in addition to “nudity found in art, such as sculpture and illustrations.” Female nudity related to breastfeeding, childbirth, and health-related situations or newsworthy content will also be permitted.
Tumblr plans on sending emails to affected blog authors, who can appeal if their content has been wrongly flagged. “All changes won’t happen overnight as something of this complexity takes time,” D’Onofrio 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.”
In response to the upcoming ban, Rival platform Mastodon is encouraging affected Tumblr users to switch over to its own social media service.
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