Earlier this month, Apple removed Tumblr from the App Store after it was found to be serving child pornography. Now, as spotted by The Verge, Tumblr is set to ban all adult content from its platform later this month.
As we previously reported, Tumblr’s filters didn’t catch the child pornography that caused its iOS app to be pulled. Tumblr shared the following statement:
We’re committed to helping build a safe online environment for all users, and we have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to media featuring child sexual exploitation and abuse. As this is an industry-wide problem, we work collaboratively with our industry peers and partners like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to actively monitor content uploaded to the platform. Every image uploaded to Tumblr is scanned against an industry database of known child sexual abuse material, and images that are detected never reach the platform.
A routine audit discovered content on our platform that had not yet been included in the industry database. We immediately removed this content. Content safeguards are a challenging aspect of operating scaled platforms. We’re continuously assessing further steps we can take to improve and there is no higher priority for our team.
Even though the app’s removal and today’s broader update have occurred within a short window, a blog post by Tumblr’s CEO notes the banning of explicit content comes after months of consideration.
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.
Starting Dec 17, adult content will not be allowed on Tumblr, regardless of how old you are. You can read more about what kinds of content are not allowed on Tumblr in our Community Guidelines. If you spot a post that you don’t think belongs on Tumblr, period, you can report it: From the dashboard or in search results, tap or click the share menu (paper airplane) at the bottom of the post, and hit “Report.”
Under the new guidelines, banned content will include:
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 following will remain permitted:
exposed female-presenting nipples in connection with breastfeeding, birth or after-birth moments, and health-related situations, such as post-mastectomy or gender confirmation surgery. Written content such as erotica, nudity related to political or newsworthy speech, and nudity found in art, such as sculptures and illustrations, are also stuff that can be freely posted on Tumblr.
Tumblr says that it will message users that will be affected before reverting public posts to private ones.
We will send out email notices to members of the Tumblr community whose content has been flagged as adult. If your post has been flagged as adult, it will be reverted to a private setting viewable only by you. If you want to learn more about how to see those posts, see this help article.
As for entire blogs that have been flagged, Tumblr will apply content filters.
Blogs that have been either self-flagged or flagged by us as “explicit” per our old policy and before December 17, 2018 will still be overlaid with a content filter when viewing these blogs directly.
While some of the content on these blogs may now be in violation of our policies and will be actioned accordingly, the blog owners may choose to post content that is within our policies in the future, so we’d like to provide that option.