Tumblr bans all porn weeks after it was dropped from iPhone App Store over child abuse images

TUMBLR has vowed to ban all pornography in just a few weeks – after being banned from Apple’s App Store over child sex abuse images.

The social networking app will go porn-free from December 17, a major change that will upset some users.

The Tumblr app was removed from Apple’s App Store last month
Alamy

It’s estimated that roughly 20% of Tumblr’s content base is made up of pornography. Soon, this will no longer be the case.

In a blog post, Tumblr CEO Jeff D’Onofrio said: “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 realised that in order to continue to fulfil our promise and place in culture, especially as it evolves, we must change.”

The decision appears to have been sparked by last month’s decision to remove Tumblr from the Apple App Store.

The app is notable for hosting large amounts of pornographic material
Getty – Contributor

In a company statement at the time, Tumblr said it had a “zero tolerance policy” on child sexual exploitation.

And now it seems this will extend to pornography, too.

In Jeff’s post, he wrote: “Bottom line: There are no shortage of sites on the internet that feature adult content.

“We will leave it to them and focus our efforts on creating the most welcoming environment possible for our community.”

And he added that when it comes to child sex abuse images, Tumblr has “always had and always will have a zero tolerance policy”

Tumblr's NEW porn rules revealed

Here are the official guidelines on adult content…

  • Don’t upload images, videos, or GIFs that show real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples
  • This includes content that is so photorealistic that it could be mistaken for featuring real-life humans
  • Certain types of artistic, educational, newsworthy or political content featuring nudity are fine
  • Don’t upload any content, including images, videos, GIFs, or illustrations, that depicts sex acts
  • Don’t post or solicit anything relating to minors that is sexually suggestive or violent
  • Don’t engage in the unwanted sexualisation or sexual harassment of others
  • Don’t use Tumblr to facilitate sex trafficking, other forms of human trafficking, or illegal prostitution

Tumblr says it will use automated systems – backed up by humans – to clean up its porn problem.

It already uses these systems for targeting child sex abuse images.

This involves scanning every image uploaded to the app, and then comparing it to an industry database of known child abuse material.

Flagged images will never make it to the live version of Tumblr – but new sex abuse images can slip through the nets.

That’s how child porn wound up on Tumblr last month.

“A routine audit discovered content on our platform that had not yet been included in the industry database,” Tumblr explained.

“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.”

What is Tumblr?

Here's what you need to know…

  • Tumblr is a social network based around “microblogging”
  • Microblogging is like regular blogging, but with shorter messages and photo/video/gif sharing primarily used
  • The service was founded in 2007, and is one of the world’s most popular websites
  • In January 2016, Tumblr was drawing in 555million visitors a month
  • And in June 2018, Tumblr was hosting upwards of 417million blogs
  • Tumblr is notable for hosting significant amounts of pornographic content
  • This had led to the app being banned in several countries, including China, Indonesia, Kazakhstan and Iran

In his post, CEO Jeff D’Onofrio explained how it would be extremely difficult to get rid of all the porn on Tumblr.

This is because automated tools aren’t perfect, and will sometimes miss (or misidentify) images while searching for porn.

“Filtering this type of content versus say, a political protest with nudity or the statue of David, is not simple at scale,” he said.

“We’re relying on automated tools to identify adult content and humans to help train and keep our systems in check.

“We know there will be mistakes, but we’ve done our best to create and enforce a policy that acknowledges the breadth of expression we see in the community.”

Do you think Tumblr is right to ban all porn on the app and website? Let us know in the comments!


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