Since its launch in 2007, the microblogging site Tumblr has continually maintained its popularity. With well over 574.7 million blogs, 135 million monthly active users, and well over 9 million daily postings, it is one of the most utilized blogging ecosystems in the world. Tumblr has a very murky past when it comes to nudity, pornography, and adult entertainment material, despite its continued popularity. Tumblr was a haven for adult content up until a contentious terms and conditions amendment in 2018—particularly virtual pornography and LGBTQ content.
Adult content was prohibited by Tumblr on December 17, 2018. This was brought on by the platform’s overabundance of pornography, hate speech, and improper content. After child sexual abuse material (CSAM) was discovered on the site in November 2018, the Apple App Store withdrew its mobile app, prompting Tumblr to adopt this policy. As a result, there was a political and societal moral panic, and Tumblr enacted very strict regulations about adult content. The new regulation on Tumblr was advertised as a proactive measure to combat CSAM and other illicit and non-consensual image-based sexual abuse material.
Adult Business Consulting is happy to present this post on Tumblr.
Tumblr users’ opinions of the ban at the time were incredibly varied, with many arguing that it violated the free speech rights of users who upload consensual, legal adult content to the platform.
Tumblr responded by implementing a filtering algorithm to identify and remove content that contravened the site’s terms of service. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a group that actively promotes the defense of acceptable sexual expression online, noted that the content prohibition and Tumblr’s implementation of content filtering weren’t a workable answer.
According to EFF’s study of the adult content prohibition, Tumblr’s filter was unable to identify what the new terms and conditions defined as adult content. A boot-scrubbing patent design, a pair of jeans, a tire with tread, a pool floatie styled like a flamingo, and other miscellaneous posts discovered among the tens of millions of posts on the platform at the time apparently were detected by the content filters. The instance of Sarah Burstein, a professor of law at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, who blogged about design law and intellectual property for patents and copyrights on tangible goods, such as the boot-scrubber, is another case study covered by EFF.
Burstein started receiving notifications that her posts on her design law Tumblr blog had been flagged for having possibly pornographic content soon after the restriction was implemented. Other instances, via stories and an analysis of social media at the period, showed that the filter algorithm was not performing as promised and that it needed to be quickly redesigned and fixed. But the prohibition on adult content was only one episode in the richly varied corporate past of Tumblr and its blogging community.
Currently, Automattic is the owner of Tumblr. Automattic is the parent business of WordPress.com, the largest provider of hosted WordPress sites in the world. The business offers a variety of digital content and web marketing tools, such as the podcast directory Pocket Casts, workflow management software Happy Tools, and the e-commerce network WooCommerce.
Ironically, Automattic only paid $3 million to acquire Tumblr in 2019. Compared to the $1.1 billion that tech giant Yahoo paid, that represents a significant decrease. Yahoo informed investors of its fourth-quarter revenue loss of more than $4.4 billion in the same year. Yahoo marked down the value of Tumblr at the time by $230 million following a net loss. When Yahoo was acquired by Verizon and a New York-based equity group called Apollo Global Management in 2017, Tumblr was left behind.
Automattic promised not to ruin the property when they purchased it for the absurd price of $3 million. Surprisingly, it seems like Tumblr’s new owners have accomplished far more than Yahoo or Verizon did in the past. As was already indicated, the problem with the adult content prohibition is the need to change the terms, services, and policies to combat CSAM and other potentially abusive content on Tumblr. But it’s critical to comprehend this company’s background and environment.
WordPress.com, whose terms and conditions permit limited instances of sexual expression and nudity, is owned by Automattic, as was previously indicated. WordPress.com accepts mature content, which includes text, photos, and videos with explicit language, nudity, and mature subject matter. Websites with such content must be classified as mature in their system, though.
WordPress.com’s mature content policy further states that it is forbidden to publish content that was really created by an adult entertainment company. The rules on Tumblr are very comparable. The site now accepts some mature content, according to Gustavo Turner, the news editor for XBIZ, who wrote about it in November 2022. This is quite like how Automattic manages these limits on WordPress.com. Turner drew attention to Tumblr’s updated community policies, which now permit “a broader range of expression, creativity, and art,” including a definition of “the naked human form” in art.
Tumblr prohibits posting content from pornographic studios or websites like Brazzers, like WordPress.com. It’s crucial to note that despite this more recent shift in policy, Automattic continues to have a firm institutional position against hosting legally created pornography on their own proprietary online platforms.
The CEO of Automattic, Matt Mullenweg, argued in a blog post in September 2022 that credit card companies are anti-porn, and that the internet presents a difficult business environment for the adult industry because of the current political and social backlash against the porn industry in countries like the United States. As someone who considers himself to be “personally extremely libertarian,” Mullenweg remarked that he hopes “that a dedicated service or company is started that will replace what people used to get from porn on Tumblr.” Mullenweg added, “I don’t know about it, but it might already exist.” “Under the current regimes, they’ll face an uphill battle; if you think that’s a bad thing, please try to change the regimes.”
Please note, not WordPress.org, but WordPress.com. Open-source WordPress.org is operated by a non-profit organization and has no restrictions on pornographic material. Many of the most well-known adult porn sites currently accessible online are powered by open source software or a WordPress CMS hosted for adults. In previous blog postings on this website, we go into great detail about WordPress.
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