Tumblr announced a couple weeks ago that today, December 17th, would be the day they would ban Adult Content on their platform. Many users immediately took to Twitter to complain which caused Tumblr to be top trending on Twitter. A new Twitter account @logoffprotest echoed the protests of several users saying they would log off on the day of the ban.
The protest involves not logging on to Tumblr for 24 hours, in order to affect Tumblr’s ad revenue.
Content moderation is something that has increased this year, due to Trump’s signing of “The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA)”. It caused Craigslist Personals page to end and has been suspected to have played a role in Tumblr’s decision, along with Apple’s App Store banning Tumblr due to similar concerns.
The SESTA act puts platforms responsible for content from their users, which contradicts the “Safe Harbor” (section 230) rule of the internet from 1996 that states “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”
Tumblr added in their own A.I. content filter system. One problem is this system, which is only supposed to flag NSFW material, is flagging anything from Sesame Street to bowls of fruit.
Some individuals have noted alternatives in place of the ban include Reddit, Twitter, and the Internet Wayback Machine to see archived Tumblr posts. One site that has grown by the thousands since the ban is Explicitr.
A unique feature of Tumblr that is expected to remain in place for SFW content after the ban is the personalized branding using a wide variety of media, which is far more effective on Tumblr than say on sites like Facebook. Time will tell if this is enough to keep it going.