How will I satisfy my fetish for “female-presenting nipples” now?


As you may have heard by now, Tumblr has announced new community guidelines that prohibit nudity, sex acts, and of all things “female-presenting nipples”. You might be wondering why. That’s easy. I pulled out the relevant lines from this long article about the decision.

in June 2017, Yahoo was acquired by Verizon for its ad business

Simon explicitly said that Black Lives Matter was an opportunity to [make] a ton of money.

the real problem was always that Verizon couldn’t sell ads next to porn.

Porn on Tumblr is something Verizon needs to wipe out if it’s going to make any money off what it thinks is actually valuable about the platform

I think the most important point is that they can’t sell ads next to porn, which is any public portrayal of or discussion about sexual activity (and given how random the algorithms they’ve devised to detect “porn” are, it seems to be anything vaguely like people doing anything), or anything Verizon can’t figure out how to monetize. They seem to be pouring more money into sanitizing Tumblr than they ever did on just maintaining the site, and right now there are all kinds of people sadly announcing that their blogs were shut down or photos were flagged or that they’re suddenly finding themselves censured for building fandoms of consenting adults because insurance companies and auto dealers don’t want to advertise on their sites.

Their unique brand was that they allowed sex workers, women, LGBTQ folk, and random niche fandoms to thrive, and yet recently people were getting concerned about “what they were going to do about the influx of alt right users, pedophilic users, and inappropriate bots that would appear in tags that were meant to cater to underage users,” so what did the staff do? They lashed out at the sex workers, women, LGBTQ folk, and random niche fandoms, rather than the alt right users. Curious. They’re willing to take draconian actions that alienate the people who’ve been using their medium for years, and have been investing resources in scrubbing out “female-presenting nipples”. Which raises a significant question.

Why aren’t any of the major social media sites taking similarly severe action to purge their sites of Nazis?

I mean, they always make excuses about free speech and not wishing to antagonize their dedicated user base. But porn is also free speech, and Tumblr is certainly turning away a significant number of contributors (to the point they’re going to destroy their own niche), so none of those excuses is operative. If the choice is to keep nipples or Nazis, wouldn’t most people choose nipples?

I guess Nazis are easier to monetize.

Comments

  1. jonmelbourne says

    I’ve been trying to come up with a joke about a nipple in drag but it seems impossible.

  2. says

    Facebook is next. As of today, they have new community standards regarding sex, talking about it, soliciting it, and more. Hard to link to on my phone, but its under Community Standards, Sexual Solicitations.

  3. d3zd3z says

    A Reddit thread described it pretty well: “Tumblr is banning porn.” “In other words, Tumblr is shutting down.”

  4. says

    I want to understand the purpose of a nipple ban. Because, last time I checked, most of us see naked nipples fairly often: in the mirror. Is the problem, then, that women’s nipples are particularly nasty? That seems to be obviously incorrect but some people are making a moral issue of it. Surely they have a reason that nipples are harmful – specifically female-presenting nipples. What is the moral basis of nipplephobia? Or, does it somehow cause the viewer harm, as pictures of spiders bother arachnophobes?

    It seems to me that nipplephobia is another religion-inspired dislike, otherwise one would have to argue they cause harm. The whole thing sounds pretty Abrahamic. In fact, it may be (drum-roll) sharia law!

  5. says

    It will be interesting to see how they work with art: Titian, Reubens, Gustave Courbet’s work “L’Origine du monde,” classical Greek and Roman statues, artistic genres such as Leda and the Swan or Saint Sebastian, and pretty much anything done by Georgia O’Keeffe. In a strict interpretation of these guidelines, most of the Sistine Chapel ceiling would be banned.

    I don’t see this ending well for them.

  6. hemidactylus says

    Are properly displayed male nipples still ok? I mean if they ban cleanly shaven male pectorals where dudebros can deshirt and strut their stuff after some muscle pumping bench press and pushups the fucking world as we know it will cease to exist. What would Arnold do?

    Sorry I am trying to process “female presenting nipples” double standard. Would a legit site promoting freedom for public breastfeeding get the axe? But dude boobs might still be ok if gym flex related? Arnold sporting a firearm?

    I assume MMA related references are OK because breaking jaws and spitting teeth pale in comparison to a female nipple. Remember the meltdown over Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl while we were blowing stuff up in Iraq and Denzel Washington was maiming and killing nefarious Mexican kidnappers? Guns good. Boobs bad.

  7. jrkrideau says

    “female-presenting nipples” ?
    I am not sure what this means but I suspect it means that Tumblr is, already, in violation of Canadian law.

  8. says

    In Ontario all persons can legally go topless. Tumblr would be banning pics in Ontario that are perfectly legally and not considered obscene.

  9. anthrosciguy says

    I want to understand the purpose of a nipple ban. Because, last time I checked, most of us see naked nipples fairly often: in the mirror. Is the problem, then, that women’s nipples are particularly nasty?

    Back in the mid-sixties, a Minnesota columnist pointed out the silliness of criminalizing female breasts in publications. He illustrated it with a closeup of a well developed breast. The next week, after many letters, he printed the whole photo showing the model’s face. Johnny Weissmuller.

  10. says

    What it comes down to is that social media companies do not want to hire a ton of people to do moderation. Building an algorithm to recognize porn is easy. Building one to recognize the difference between Nazis and people mocking Nazis is damn near impossible. So they are taking the easy way out.

  11. says

    Apparently whatever algorithm they’re running is horrible. There have been reports it even flagged the post announcing the new restrictions.

    Supposedly the appearance of female nipples in posts discussing things like breastfeeding will be allowed. Classic art is also supposedly exempt. But with the algorithm supposedly flagging posts of things like cat pictures don’t count on that being the case either.

  12. vucodlak says

    Why aren’t any of the major social media sites taking similarly severe action to purge their sites of Nazis?

    Maybe because Nazis have made huge gains in political power, and our corporate overlords are stupid enough to think that catering to them will give them a revenue boost in the next quarter (we all know corporations can’t see past the next couple of quarterly fiscal reports)? And some no-doubt think collaborating will keep them safe too, but that’s only because they’re as bad at understanding the lessons of the past as they are at predicting the future.

    Actually, they’re probably right about the revenue boost. Not that it will matter if when our new Nazis get it into their heads to start a few wars, and shoot off a few nukes.

    Godsdamned fools, all of them.

  13. says

    Now I want to train a deep dream AI network to render everything in nipple. Presumably their algorithm is also a trained classifier. Political messages rendered in nipple would be … uh, something.

    Over on instagram I sometimes see “naughty” pictures with black squares over the nipples. So, those images are fine? Side-boob is non-erotic but front-boob is? I think this is a further move in a Russian cyberwar to make American look foolish. Next, let’s join the EU so we can exit.

  14. microraptor says

    Ouabache @11:

    If building a bot that recognizes and flags porn is so easy, why has Tumblr’s announcement of the porn ban been flagged by the bot twice?

  15. Rowan vet-tech says

    Their algorithm is also extremely bad at identifying… well… anything.

    My tumblrs have had as flagged pictures of: Kittens being bottle fed, an owl, a dog laying on an x-ray table, me petting a cat, every single x-ray of an animal, many of my snakes.
    Horses are being flagged as explicit. Sand dunes. Elbows. Ankles. Pictures of Mario. The statue of David, which was specifically brought up by the STAFF as an example of artistic nudity that wouldn’t be flagged… and when that was reported staff doubled down and said on review that it was against their guidelines…

    And still the porn bots run rampant.

  16. gijoel says

    I thought the porn ban was due to Tumblr being delisted from Itunes due to child porn. Guess I’m wrong.

  17. AnotherDayLost says

    According to this WaPo column, this has come about because Tumblr’s app was removed from Apple’s app store over its failure to filter out child pornography. As we are currently seeing the limitations of their ability to algorithmically distinguish nude humans from, say, kittens, I think it is safe to say there is little chance they could distinguish a nude 14 year old from a nude 18 year old. And I guess losing their porn users would hurt their bottom line less than losing their iOS app.

  18. Colin J says

    And still the porn bots run rampant.

    Now there’s a different apocalypse scenario!
    Although, given the way things work on the internet, it’s probably a more realistic version of Skynet.

  19. A. Noyd says

    The incompetence endangering Tumblr pisses me off because its nature helped enlighten me about autism and other forms of neurodiverisity, which I’m seeing a return on now that I’m an English teacher in Japan.

    A few years ago, a lot of posts on neurodiversity happened across my dashboard—information from the perspective of people trying to navigate a neurotypical society with a less-than-typical brain. If it weren’t for how Tumblr’s platform works, I might not have seen it. It was reblogged by people I followed for their artwork or commentary on other social issues—the sort of people that are now having issues with the new moderation, despite not being porn blogs.

    And the information they reblogged enabled me to see autistic and ADHD behaviors in a lot of my students and understand them. And, instead of mistaking those behaviors for poor scholarship or rebelliousness, I can also see past them to gauge whether the student is really understanding English or not. And I can find ways for them to participate in activities that require them to do things they have trouble with.

    Just yesterday, I helped one nonverbal boy communicate during an interview activity by giving him a page of the textbook that had many pictures of various possible answers. He’s often a little too inhibited to participate even with a tool like that, but I always try to give him the opportunity because, according to autistic folk, such inhibition isn’t constant. He was clearly feeling impudent that day, because he jokingly answered “How do you go underground?” by pointing to a swim ring.

    In another class, we were finishing up speaking tests. There was one girl who has a flat affect and a considerable speech delay. If I had never been told that this is perfectly normal for some people, I might not have known to give her the time she needs to answer. Her English level is higher than most of her classmates. She just needs a lot of extra processing time.

    I use what I learned from Tumblr every day. Another example is giving explicit verbal praise to certain autistic students, even if I have to break protocol and use Japanese. They might not understand how to interpret a smile, gesture or more vague compliment, like I’ll use with neurotypical students. I do that because autistic people on Tumblr said that’s what they need.

    So watching as the platform that helped me so much tries to destroy itself because of greed and foolishness makes me even more angry than I might otherwise be.

  20. d3zd3z says

    And I guess losing their porn users would hurt their bottom line less than losing their iOS app.

    Hard to say exactly. The iOS app is free, and I’m sure the revenue there is the same as the desktop app, advertisement. https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/4xa8v3/so-how-much-porn-is-on-tumblr suggests that about half of Tumblr users at least are exposed to porn, even though the producers are a very small portion of the users. About 21% seemed to be intentional users of porn.

  21. says

    What I do not get is how it can be hard to sell advertisements side-by-side with porn. I mean, why? I think this is just a case of USA “holier than thou” christians poisoning everything, because anyone who could complain about said advertisement is a hippocrite who privately watches porn but publicly decries it and currently I cannot think about anyone but christians doing this.

    As for filtering out child pornography, I seriously doubt any bot can do that with any reasonable degree of acuracy.

    Most of the guidelines make sense, but the one about adult content does not. A significant portion of art is thus banned, like above mentioned Sistine Chappel paintings.

  22. microraptor says

    Charly @23: I’ve heard that the issue is the advertisers objecting to their ads being shown in conjunction with porn, not the viewers. Don’t ask me why they’d care (especially given that they’re apparently perfectly willing to be advertised alongside Alt-Right garbage).

  23. methuseus says

    What would Arnold do?

    You misspelled Ahnold.

    They’ll either roll it back and it will be business as usual, or they’ll keep going and possibly become the new Stormfront. We’ll see.

  24. A. Noyd says

    Charly (#23)

    What I do not get is how it can be hard to sell advertisements side-by-side with porn. I mean, why?

    It’s especially inexplicable given how many ads on Tumblr are basically softcore porn promoting some crappy video game or other, and they’re often far more sexually objectifying and anti-woman than the actual porn. The excuse being, as always, that “sex sells”.

    Except when it somehow, magically…doesn’t?

  25. =8)-DX says

    Yeah, from what I read this is also the company covering up the blatant failure they’ve been at removing child porn from their site, so they throw sex workers and erotica under the same bus. Facebook is doing the same thing, it’s a really puritanical mindset which basically goes: any nudity => porn => bad or talking about sex => sex work => trafficking. Consent is never consdidered.
    =8/-DX

  26. methuseus says

    @A. Noyd #26:

    It’s especially inexplicable given how many ads on Tumblr are basically softcore porn promoting some crappy video game or other, and they’re often far more sexually objectifying and anti-woman than the actual porn. The excuse being, as always, that “sex sells”.

    Except when it somehow, magically…doesn’t?

    The problem is that the porn distracts from their advertisements. If porn is rampant on the platform, the softcore ads have to compete with other softcore or even hardcore porn and you’re less likely to click on it. That’s part of the content curation where there is so much care taken to filter out any sort of thing approaching nudity. If Facebook didn’t get so much money from those softcore ads, maybe they wouldn’t be so adamant about filtering out any hint of a nipple. Here’s Tumblr just following that same methodology.

  27. Zeppelin says

    I imagine it’s pretty easy to sell stuff to the average alt-righter/animé nazi — a whole subculture of obliviously consumerist people with no critical thinking skills who are deeply insecure and will dive into any fad as long as it’s popular in their peer group! Seems like an advertiser’s dream. I can see why they wouldn’t want to alienate them. (Of course you also get a lot of insecure, faddish people in “fandoms”, but those tend to have an uncomfortably critical leftist contingent.)

  28. AnotherDayLost says

    the blatant failure they’ve been at removing child porn from their site, so they throw sex workers and erotica under the same bus.

    The problem is that it is not feasible for tumblr (or any company) to preemptively identify and filter out only the content that involves underage participants in a pornographic context. We see that their any-kind-of-porn identifying algorithm is not so great. Even if they could afford to hire hundreds (or maybe thousands?) of full-time content moderators to pre-screen every new post, they would only be able to positively identify the content involving kids well below the age of consent.

  29. Dunc says

    I guess Nazis are easier to monetize.

    It’s pretty well known that right-wingers are easy marks for all sorts of stupid marketing and obvious scams. A great deal of the right-wing media ecosystem is built exploiting on this fact.

  30. Meg Thornton says

    Okay, here’s the basis of the whole Tumblr thing, from someone who’s been watching from the inside for a bit (I’m blaming university study).

    We’re going to take a quick wander over to the Voltron fandom for a moment – don’t panic, this will wind up being relevant to the overall mess. Voltron fandom has been undergoing what’s called a “shipping war” – a pitched battle between factions of the fandom over which fictional characters should or shouldn’t be getting together in a relationship. In the manner of modern shipping wars (since approximately the 2000s at least) the arguments have a strong undercurrent of “my ship is more canon than your ship”; this has, in the last couple of years or so, extended to be “my ship is more morally pure and virtuous than your ship”. Voltron fandom has given rise to a faction known as “anti-shippers” who are basically arguing that even the mention of morally impure and immoral ships should not be available on the internet… for the sake of the chilldruns, doncherknow.

    (I can feel a disturbance in the force, as though a million ex-LiveJournal patrons all face!palmed simultaneously. Or maybe it’s heartburn).

    Anyway, one of their fun little games is declaring any ship with an age gap (even between consenting adults) is a form of “paedophillia”, and reporting it as such in an effort to get people TOSsed from Tumblr, reported to the police, and handed over to the FBI (because moral purity, and zero tolerance, and all those good Christian tactics like that). So Tumblr abuse were probably a little inundated by complaints by earnest young anti-shipping crusaders about, let us remember, fictional characters. At the same time, there was all the fun and games that Verizon/Oath were doing with regards to things like letting all the better staff who had been working on the site walk away from it, shedding corporate memory and actual useful skills like nobody’s business. At the same time as this, there was a new child pr0n ring setting up, which was using images that hadn’t been entered into any of the databases which were being used to sanitise existing sites. At the same time, there were also more and more porn bots setting up accounts on Tumblr, to the point where ordinary users were starting to complain.

    Then Apple caught wind of all of this, and took the Tumblr app off their App Store (because Steve Jobs was a puritan old bastard under the flashy corporate innovator stuff, and had Strong Objections to people being able to use Apple’s hardware to look at anything even vaguely smutty). Cue “oh fuckdge” from Tumblr Staff, and an immediate effort to start purging pornbots. Which resulted in people’s blogs being shut down without warning or apology, to term searches from the main interface being disabled, and to all h-e-double-hockeysticks breaking loose among Tumblr’s users.

    (There’s that disturbance in the force again… )

    This has been going on for about two or three weeks now – the app store removal happened shortly before your Thanksgiving. Then on Monday they made the announcement about “oh, on the 17th, we’re kicking off all the Naughty content, which includes anything which shows naked skin, or female-identified nipples being used for anything other than actual-factual breastfeeding, because that’s the only possible sanctified non-sexual use for female nipples. Male-identified nipples are designated non-sexual, so they’re fine.”

    In the last two days, just about anything which has anything which might be a skin tone in there has been marked as potentially explicit (leading to a certain amount of speculation that they’re getting one last free favour from their current userbase by getting us to train up their censorship algorithm) as well as posts mentioning LGBTQ+ matters, and of course, anything which is actually critical of Tumblr management itself (because if you’re going to introduce a censorship regime, why be half-arsed about it?).

    Fandom, which had been using Tumblr as a hub, because they would actually allow a certain amount of NSFW stuff without TOSsing people, is currently in an uproar and looking to abandon ship as fast as possible. The anti-shippers in the Voltron fandom have been conspicuously silent lately (although apparently some of them are just as pissed off about the whole thing as the rest of fandom, which is ironic, because Tumblr is giving them exactly what they asked for for Christmas… who knew it wasn’t what they actually wanted!).

  31. call me mark says

    “just about anything which has anything which might be a skin tone in there has been marked as potentially explicit”

    Indeed. One tumblr I follow is dailyrothko – they are having Mark Rothko paintings flagged as nudity.

  32. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    “Double Female-Presenting Nipples On The Dime” is my favorite Minutemen album.

  33. says

    Actually, the Vox article quoted in the OP says, if you bother to read it, that the app store thing was not the cause of the decision, which was made back in May, it merely caused them to announce it a little faster than they had originally planned. People blaming Apple/Steve Jobs (he’s dead, folks, he’s not in control of anything any more)/iOS are missing the point.

    Multiple people have pointed out that this is pretty much exactly how other fandom social media sites died in the past — FanFiction.Net had the same sort of crackdown, and one of the other more general social media sites (I forget which one, because I’m not a fandom person and have only been reading about this) had a similar “we promise we’re only getting rid of porn, we promise” thing that drove away the fans in droves.

    The FanFiction.Net situation is why the fan-founded Archive Of Our Own (a.k.a. AO3) deliberately has as few porn restrictions as possible and strongly encourages self-curation and extremely thorough content tagging, so that people who “don’t want to see that sort of thing” can make it all hide and still use the site. Sadly, Verizon did not even realize that that was an example, let alone learn from it.

  34. adafuns says

    Spokesperson said that child porn was getting through the filters they set up. Since they cant figure out how to stop it they are taking extreme measures. The fact that pedo shit was getting through made it so that Apple removed Tumblr from the app store as well. I dont think ads are the reason.

  35. Akira MacKenzie says

    Meg Thompson @ 32

    Voltron fandom has been undergoing what’s called a “shipping war” – a pitched battle between factions of the fandom over which fictional characters should or shouldn’t be getting together in a relationship.

    LOOK! ALL I’M SAYING IS THAT IF SHOULD END UP WITH ANYONE, ALURA SHOULD END UP WITH KEITH, NOT LANCE! LANCE IS A WOMANIZING ASSHOLE WHO SEXUALLY HARRASED HER FROM THE MOMENT THEY MET! WHAT SORT OF MESSAGE DOES THAT SEND TO KIDS!!! YOUR DESTROYING MY CHILDHOOD!!!!

    (pant…pant… pant)

    I’m sorry, what were we talking about?

    Voltron fandom has given rise to a faction known as “anti-shippers” who are basically arguing that even the mention of morally impure and immoral ships should not be available on the internet… for the sake of the chilldruns, doncherknow.

    I don’t know, those Haggar/Coran/Alura’s Mice slash fics I’ve seen can get REALLY disturbing.

    Seriously though, I suppose the hub bub was about the reveal that Shiro was gay and had a partner waiting for him on Earth, right? I had heard some online grumbling about that, but I figured since the new Voltron is a niche show it wouldn’t make that big a wave. Beseems I was wrong.

  36. Akira MacKenzie says

    Macus Ranum @ 5

    There is a completely rational explanation: Because lady nipples ooze stuff and it’s gross and icky!!! They also give men impure thoughts and we can’t have that!

  37. jamiejag says

    I’ve a friend who makes stuffed animals for her etsy store. For a while now she’s been posting pictures on tumblr of various unicorns, dragons, pokemon, etc… Not an ounce of skin or a shade of skintone in any of em, but they’re all being flagged.

  38. says

    I suspect that the “female-presenting nipples” nonsense is their way of shitting on LGBT people. When Facebook[1] started cracking down on pictures of women’s breasts (to the point where they were closing down breast cancer support groups while turning a blind eye to hate groups operating openly on their platform– like PZ says, Nazis are easier to monetize, I guess), I heard some trans women responded by posting topless pictures of themselves as they underwent HRT in solidarity, basically asking, “hey, Facebook, do my nipples have enough girl-cooties in ’em yet? How about today? How about today?”

    (I also remember a case from a few years back where an avant-garde fashion magazine brought out an issue where the cover model was actually a male model, albeit a very androgynous one, wearing make-up and a blouse with a plunging neckline that displayed his nipples. The magazine was promptly banned by many stockists on the justification that viewers would think the model was a women and the display of nipples was therefore obscene. The “female-presenting nipples” phrase seems custom-made to catch cases like this)

    [1] Off-topic, but the contents of the Facebook mails that were seized on the orders of the UK Parliament have been made public and they’re every bit as odious as you’d imagine

  39. upprunitegundanna says

    Kip T.W.

    So what if you’re a nazi und you want to see some boobies? Asking für ein freund.

    A rare chance to be an actual grammar nazi here: in German, the preposition “für” takes the accusative case, so you would have to say “für einen Freund”… also, nouns are capitalised in German.

  40. says

    “Asking” isn’t even a German word. It’s like some sort of jest, jape, or jeu d’esprit!

    Also: In English, a complete sentence following a colon is capitalized.

  41. says

    They’ve been training the algorithms for a while, kind of stealthily. A couple or so months ago I started noticing some recent reposts of old posts of mine were getting flagged, very few of them for any half-way legit reason, even by wrong-headed mainstream American standards. I think a moody, head-and-shoulders portrait of a gorilla was one of them, all shadow and near-human physiognomy, no nipples as I recall.

    Thing is, I had no emails telling me my pics were getting flagged, and while they generally got passed when I asked for a review, there was no easy way for me to find the flagged pictures. They didn’t show up as flagged on the main blog view, but only on the back end where you have to scroll continuously through (in my case) eight years of posts and reposts, or work through the repost notifications. If this was training, they picked a bass-ackward way of going about it. If there are pictures still back there of dunes, and folded cloth, and even the occasional Dejah Thoris art not showing any Martian presenting nipples that have been flagged and shouldn’t have been, how is the poor AI going to know that they shouldn’t?

    Come to that, are nipple-less Red Martians supposed to be blocked, and are nipple-y Red Martians supposed to be okay because they’re Art? Is Frank Frazetta Art-y enough? How about Frank Cho?

    Stop the press electrons! I just went to check, and although tumblr is claiming that it’s displaying three pages of Dejah Thoris pics, it’s only showing two pictures, total. Not even showing them in the edit pages, so I can’t even ask for reviews now.

    Contrast with a modded picture I had of Truth Emerging from her Well to Scourge Mankind that I noticed got flagged Tuesday night and passed review today. Did it pass because the human thought it was the original and therefore Art? Did it pass because it was a scan of an oil painting and oils=Art? Who knows?

  42. says

    @#42, Cat Mara:

    Somebody pointed out that “female-presenting nipples” is more likely a formulation meant to be vague enough let them ban whatever nudity they want and say “well, it looked female enough to us so shut up” afterwards if anybody complains. That it is also yet another corporation shitting on LGBT people is either — depending on what you believe their attitude actually is, deep down — coincidental or a bonus.

  43. Colin J says

    Also: In English, a complete sentence following a colon is capitalized.

    What? No, not in English. In American, maybe…

    Al’so: in Engli’sh every “‘s” i’s preceded by an apo’strophe. I know; my grocer told me ‘so.

  44. Colin J says

    Rules for a secure password <> Rules for English grammar
    Although maybe they should. If it allows us to skip the whole “texting grammar” thing, I’m all for it.
    (Young people these days, texting all over my lawn.)

  45. unclefrogy says

    Even if they could afford to hire hundreds (or maybe thousands?) of full-time content moderators to pre-screen every new post,

    that is the question isn’t it. They are doing this as all the others are doing this with an eye heading off any government regulation.
    They chose software because that is already figured in to over head and will have a negative effect on the bottom line. At $50K a year, just a rough number, $1 million would get you 20 censors the money could easily come from the all ready exorbitant pay off the top management who would hardly notice it really.
    anyone think that their are not a dozen reasons that will not be considered.
    uncle frogy

  46. ck, the Irate Lump says

    There’s another reason why this is happening. A law was passed in the US recently with very little public fanfare. FOSTA-SESTA, which claims to target sex trafficking, inflicts serious legal penalties for even unintentionally hosting ads for prostitution (consensual or not). Since these companies don’t want to hire armies of people to sift through the content to find out which violates the law and which do not, they’re setting up draconian filters that block everything from porn to anything that could be considered sexuality.

    While tech companies would normally be united in their opposition to this kind of law, Facebook and the other major players pretty much all dropped their opposition to the law after a minor change was made to it. Some believe this was done because it would be harder for smaller companies to comply with it, so it would further entrench their market share and prevent unexpected competitors.

    More here: https://twitter.com/CookieCyboid/status/1070751515823013889 and here: https://www.vox.com/culture/2018/4/13/17172762/fosta-sesta-backpage-230-internet-freedom

  47. vucodlak says

    @ Everybody buying into the “won’t somebody think of the children?!” spin

    The people who actually give a shit about children don’t have the financial or political power to make corporations pretend to care. This is pure, undiluted status quo enforcement from the puritanical scum who want to control everyone else’s lives to the maximum extent possible, then go a little further than that. Corporations give in to this group with depressing frequency because it turns out that “Greed is good!” is a shitty moral framework.

    Reason being that the pushers of puritanism tend to have money. Poor people mostly don’t have time to obsess over someone looking at nipples on the ‘net. Corpers want that sweet puritan money. However, they know puritanism isn’t really that popular, and they want everyone else’s money too. Thus, corporations echo the puritans cry of “won’t somebody think of the children?!”

    It’s empty propaganda, of course. Corpers can make more money exploiting children by pretending to care about them than they can exploiting them in more blatant ways. Advertisers love to look like they care. It’s great for their brand image. But if corporations could make more money child rape, they’d find a way to do it.

    Puritans care only about control. It’s why puritans and predators get along so well- they’re both after the same basic thing.

    To some, this little corporate crackdown may seem like a relatively small thing, but it’s part of a larger pattern of extremely disturbing behavior on the part of telecom companies, who seem to be determined to walk hand-in-hand with fascists towards a future worse than anything that’s come before. Their shortsighted greed will help to usher in a world without anything approaching real freedom for anyone but the super-rich.

    I don’t even use tumblr, and I’m seriously freaked out by this.

  48. VolcanoMan says

    As The Vicar noted above, while the Apple Store removal hastened this move, it was in the works for 6 months (according to a former Tumblr employee who was working at the company when these decisions were made). And the rationale for the NSFW ban is that Verizon/Oath/Yahoo! aren’t squeezing the money they thought they could out of Tumblr, so they’re trying to increase advertising revenues. Apparently, companies don’t want their ads appearing next to pr0n. So Tumblr are nuking a minimum of 20% of their membership (the people who intentionally seek adult content on Tumblr…including me, btw) so they can monetise the people who remain (that’s the theory, at least).

    What I don’t think they realise though is that the culture of Tumblr is generally left-leaning and pro-freedom of expression. Shutting down a form of expression (adult content) after years of both increasing restrictions on it and marginalising people who are themselves making money off of it (including a LOT of women and LGBTTQIA*-identifying persons) goes directly against the beliefs of most Tumblr users. It also signals to people not consuming or producing adult content that nothing is safe – Tumblr will always choose the path that it feels will make it the most money (whether that’s true or not), and sacrificing part of their user base to achieve that is always possible. Furthermore, plenty of content-producers who aren’t producing NSFW stuff are going to lose out here since a large segment of their audience will be leaving Tumblr. I would guess that almost everyone who views adult content also consumes other media on Tumblr, and they’re all (almost certainly) going to leave the platform because the principal reason they use Tumblr is gone. So I think a lot more than 20% of Tumblr’s users will disappear. It wouldn’t surprise me if they lost a full HALF of their membership, if not more, within a couple months of December 17th. If this rule change goes through, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tumblr was functionally, if not literally defunct within 1-2 years.

    A Change[dot]org petition asking Tumblr to reverse course has garnered half-a-million signatures in the ~4 days that have elapsed since this announcement. There is still time for Tumblr to see just how much they are shooting themselves in the foot with this ridiculous new policy, and announce to the world that adult content will continue to be allowed (while promising to take care of the pr0n bots and institute more effective safeguards against child pr0n). But the real beneficiary of this moronic move will be the site(s) to which Tumblr users migrate. And a large-scale, co-ordinated transfer of thousands of adult-themed blogs to a new platform is already in the works. If Tumblr reverses course, I expect some content creators will stick with Tumblr (people are lazy and it’s the path of least resistance), but whatever this new platform is (apparently it will be revealed on the weekend), it will essentially expand into a social media giant almost overnight (once it gains some momentum with all of the NSFW content-creators joining up, other people looking for a new Wild West-like experiment in social media will inevitably follow). I am sure there will be some major and minor glitches and bugs that will need to be ironed out in the first few months, but someone is going to get rich off of Tumblr’s incompetence.

    As it stands now though, I am about 60% sure that Tumblr will do at least a partial backtrack on this decision within a week…their site may not be ALL pr0n (as some people have joked), but as the only current major social media site that allows NSFW content (for now), most content creators that have chosen Tumblr did so at least partially because at Tumblr they knew they had the freedom to produce almost anything and not be banned. Nazis may be a demographic that spends lots of money on things they saw on internet advertisements, but they can’t, on their own, make up for the money that perhaps 2 million (initial estimate based only on the 20% of Tumblr users who seek adult content, and not including people who will follow them in the mass exodus away from this dying site) lost users would generated via ad viewing (as an aside, this whole fiasco really indicts the advertising model on which SO much of the internet relies for profitability). Not to mention the fact that if one of the major goals here is to add more children and teens to their userbase (an impossible task – Tumblr isn’t cool enough to lure kids away from YouTube and SnapChat), Nazis aren’t exactly child-friendly. On the whole, while I am not surprised that this is the direction Tumblr has chosen to go, I am amused at their belief that THIS is what will make Tumblr into the cash cow they want/need it to be. How can they not see that this move will almost certainly cause the end of Tumblr?

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