Today is December 17th and the social blogging platform tumblr has decided to ban all NSFW (not safe for work) content from its platform. In protest, many users have logged out of their accounts in solidarity to show their dismay at the new policy. Since it’s inception, Tumblr has always been a platform that allowed content creators to post adult content, and were always very liberal on their censorship policies. Many users flocked to the platform for that exact reason. It was a place on the net where content creators, artists, and alternative lifestyle bloggers could post their content without fear of being banned or censored.
I’ve used Tumblr on and off for years. I have mixed feelings about the new policy change or TOS (terms of service). I’m not an easily offended person, but I will admit I’ve closed a blog or two, & left the platform on several occasions due to viewing extremely questionable content that I maybe would of rather not seen. For this reason part of me understands why Tumblr is trying to clean up its act, or in their words, “promote a more positive user experience.”
On the other hand, it has always been a platform where you could freely express alternative points of view. Artists who might occasionally sketch a nude found a welcoming home there. People living alternative lifestyles, fetishists, the LGBTQ community, swingers, sex workers, and others all found a welcoming home for their voice and words.
At what cost will this new content policy come though? For years content creators have flocked to the platform for the freedom the platform afforded them. People from all walks of life, and various lifestyles have embraced the platform as a place they could express themselves freely. Now, with a single decision all these bloggers will have to find a new home, or post content that is a little more “sanitized”.
Censorship of any kind is always a slippery slope especially when dealing with adult content. Ask any serious artist, in the eyes of most blogging platforms there is very little difference between artistic expression and pornography when it comes to various depictions of the human naked body.
It’s going to be interesting to see how the users respond to the new TOS and community standards of the platform. Due to the former policies, the platform attracted users looking for a place to post their NSFW and adult content. There aren’t a lot of blogs on the site that don’t post the occasional nude, or some other form of “questionable” content. I feel the platform is isolating a huge chunk of their user base, and straying far from the original idea and concept behind the platform. For this reason I think it’s going to be interesting to see how many users actually stay on the site, how many leave, and what will seperate them now from so many other competitors with the similar content policies. I for one think this is a bad move from the company and feel they may find themselves getting “Myspaced”. They have just changed the one thing that separated them from so many other social blogging competitors. It’s going to be interesting to see how these new policies affect the overall health, and sustainability of the platform.