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In a post today, Tumblr announced that it will “start hiding—not deleting—posts that contain GIFs, videos, and photos from public view that are in violation of our policy.” The site says it will “flag more adult content” over the “coming weeks,” and there is an appeal process for flagged posts.
A quick visit to Tumblr reveals that NSFW search terms and phrases are largely blocked on the site. For instance, searching “BDSM,” “femdom,” “domme,” and “girldick” provide no NSFW results. Certain kink and fetish tags, however, made it past the ban. Posts related to or tagged with “feederism” and “giantess” still made it through, but there are no posts available for “ahegao,” “DDLG,” and “inflation” fetishes, among others.
Daily Dot writer Gavia Baker-Whitelaw considered the ban “very effective” in censoring adult content.
“I just tested some NSFW Tumblr tags (all blocked, as of today) but ironically found my first example of the infamous Female Presenting Nipple on a Nazi tag (not blocked),” Baker-Whitelaw tweeted.
it does seem like the ban is v effective, i couldn't find anything NSFW via obvious keywords or fanart tags. i'm curious to see what tumblr's traffic is like in the coming weeks.— Gavia Baker-Whitelaw (@Hello_Tailor) December 17, 2018
Adult content was a significant part of Tumblr’s appeal. A January 2017 study revealed that approximately 30 million Tumblr users out of 130 million surveyed were “consuming adult content” by either “re-sharing it or following the accounts of those producers,” Motherboard reports. Another 40 million users, or 28 percent, accidentally saw porn on Tumblr through their dashboard, meaning there were relatively few degrees of separation between NSFW and SFW users. Meanwhile, women aged 20 to 25 were looking at porn at a higher rate than young men, suggesting the crackdown is impacting women more than any other group.
All of that is to say that adult content played a major role in Tumblr’s content ecosystem, whether users came to the site for porn or not. Twitter is responding to the ban in an incredibly expected way: creating memes mourning Tumblr’s “death.”
“Today is the Day Tumblr officially dies ladies and gents,” Twitter user RiseFallNick tweeted along with a Beavis and Butt-Head meme.
Today is the Day Tumblr officially dies ladies and gents. pic.twitter.com/SzMVv9Xnwk— TRAFON (@RiseFallNick) December 17, 2018
RIP horny Tumblr— Ryan Broderick (@broderick) December 17, 2018
(February 2007-December 2018) pic.twitter.com/HAoUMv8u2t
Then there’s the Log Off Protest, a 24-hour boycott in which Tumblr users leave the site to protest the NSFW ban. Alongside posting their frustrations in the hashtags #tumblrlogoff and #logoffprotest, Tumblr users are sharing plenty of memes on Twitter criticizing the adult content ban.
Here's some common questions about the #logoffprotest ! I'll be adding more photos to answer your questions. Don't be afraid to tweet me or send me an ask with any concerns. #logoff2018 pic.twitter.com/E2Qi0puxoJ— Log Off Protest (@logoffprotest) December 15, 2018
tumblr out here with the best joke of 2018: pic.twitter.com/oZ6nbfgC1Q— booth.exe (@polluxhyucks) December 17, 2018
Others pointed out that, like Baker-Whitelaw tweeted, porn is gone but fascism is alive and well on the site.
Just checked now that Tumblr's new rules are in place how the site is holding up— TRAFON (@RiseFallNick) December 17, 2018
Looking good! pic.twitter.com/n4Fc4WP7wo
tumblr is gross part (???) pic.twitter.com/rCu6vTSMZD— natalie ❣️ (@ntrlbrnloser) December 17, 2018
Whether you loved or hated Tumblr, a major part of the internet died today. RIP, porn-friendly Tumblr. You’ll be missed.
tumblr dies at midnight, rip pic.twitter.com/1JiCNB0LDo— Calvin (@calvinstowell) December 17, 2018
Ana Valens is a reporter specializing in online queer communities, marginalized identities, and adult content creation. She is Daily Dot's Trans/Sex columnist. Her work has appeared at Vice, Vox, Truthout, Bitch Media, Kill Screen, Rolling Stone, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and spends her free time developing queer adult games.