Tumblr clarifies its stand on pornographic content; adds NSFW blogs back to search

Tumblr’s CEO David Karp has sought to clear the air about the blogging platform’s stand on pornographic content, even as issues regarding the


Tumblr’s CEO David Karp has sought to clear the air about the blogging platform’s stand on pornographic content even as issues regarding the company’s stand on adult content seem to be brewing into a mini storm.

Karp, in a lengthy blog post, attributes the misinformation flying around the confusion regarding Tumblr’s stand on porn stemmed from the “complicated” flagging/filtering features of the platform.

The problem started when it was noticed that Tumblr had quietly stopped indexing adult blogs in its own searches as well as on search engines. Blogs marked “Adult” were separated from the wider “NSFW” tag and were dumped from all forms of search, rendering huge number of blogs from the active adult community on Tumblr unsearchable.

 Tumblr clarifies its stand on pornographic content; adds NSFW blogs back to search

How purple is Tumblr? Not much

 

Karp appeared on The Colbert Report earlier last week and clarified that the company had no interest in trying to banish pornographic content from the platform. "Look, we've taken a pretty hard line on freedom of speech, supporting our users, creation, whatever that looks like, and it's just not something that we want to police," he assured.

Tumblr’s CEO backed this up with this blog post to set the record straight about Tumblr’s policy on pornographic, NSFW and adult content. Firstly, Karp reminded users of the Safe Mode option that let them toggle between having posts marked as NSFW appearing in tags and search pages. He also announced that a bug that didn’t allow users to search for adult content despite the mode being off had been fixed.

Karp confirmed that certain search terms are blocked in some of Tumblr’s mobile apps. Searching for these terms will return no-results. “Unfortunately, different app environments have different requirements that we do our best to adhere to. The reason you see innocent tags like #gay being blocked on certain platforms is that they are still frequently returning adult content which our entire app was close to being banned for.”

Tumblr’s team is working on more intelligent filtering, said Karp. While you cannot search for #gay, you can browse through #lgbtq, a hashtag moderated by the site’s community editors.

Karp has also affirmed that it had stopped delisting a tiny subset of blogs that were put up by spammers, glorifying commercial porn sites from search engines like Google. Tumblr had the option of flagging your blog as Adult through the NSFW tag. Since this was causing a lot of confusion, the website has dropped the Adult option to have anything sexier than normal to be marked as NSFW only. People with the Safe Mode on will naturally not be able to see these posts but they well still be promoted on third-party search engines.

Ever since Yahoo acquired Tumblr last month, users had been running scared about how the Internet company would deal with porn on the blogging platform. Even while Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s CEO, had assured users that the website’s porn content would go untouched, users were not too sure of it. This mini-panic of sorts was probably a result of expecting Tumblr to toe Yahoo’s line.

Karp reassured Tumblr users that there have been no recent changes to the platform’s treatment of NSFW content and that its views regarding the topic had not changed. “Empowering your creative expression is the most important thing in the world to us. Making sure people aren’t surprised by content they find offensive is also incredibly important and we are always working to put more control in your hands,” he signed off.


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