Tumblr ran afoul of Apple’s App Store guidelines recently. While the initial reaction was that Apple was overreacting, it turned out that the global platform for sharing content was actually playing host to sharing child pornography.
That discovery led Apple to, unsurprisingly, remove Tumblr from the App Store altogether. Tumblr’s new ownership, under Verizon’s Oath brand, has been working on changing things behind-the-scenes for awhile now, but it looks like the changes are getting more aggressive as it aims the Tumblr ship in a slightly new direction. The platform will see its biggest change to date on December 17, when it completely bans all “adult content” from the platform.
There will be a few exceptions to the rule. But Tumblr will be blocking, removing, or otherwise hiding all content that shows sexually explicit content and nudity beginning on the aforementioned date. The banned content includes GIFs, photos, and videos that show human genitalia, female-presenting nipples, and any media that shows sex acts — including illustrations.
As for the exceptions, those include political protests that may include nudity, as well as classical nude statues. Art, including illustrations, that show nudity are allowed on the platform, along with images of breast feeding and after-birth photos. However, sex acts cannot be showcased in those forms of illustration.
Algorithms will be working behind-the-scenes to flag the inappropriate content, and Tumblr users will have the ability to appeal the decision if they believe their content shouldn’t be flagged and removed. The company says that it’s possible the algorithms will make mistakes along the way, so the appeals process should help alleviate any issues that inevitably crop up.
“We’ve given serious thought to who we want to be to our community moving forward,” CEO Jeff D’Onofrio says in a blog post. “We’ve realized that in order to continue to fulfill our promise and place in culture, especially as it evolves, we must change.”
This decision comes soon after Apple’s removal of the app, again, for serving as a platform for sharing child pornography.