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Starting on December 17, Tumblr will be permanently blocking ‘not safe for work’ content from its site.

This decision has come following the Tumblr app’s removal from the iOS app store for explicit content due to apparent child pornography on the site. This obviously falls under the “Harm to Minors” section of the site’s community guidelines. Many users were hoping this issue would force Tumblr to address the issue of porn bots on the site which contributed to the child pornography problem, but Tumblr‘s response was a blanket ban instead.

Now, any media that includes “real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples” or sex acts regardless of the legality or depiction will get you banned. It appears that erotic writing will still be allowed. Images like breastfeeding or nonsexual nudity will supposedly be permitted after the ban as well.

The site started flagging posts on Dec 3 to give users a heads-up. However, the Tumblr team is “relying on automated tools to identify adult content” with “help” from humans, which means the site is choked with posts about posts that have been banned that are most decidedly not pornographic, such as:

  • A portrait of Mary Shelley.
  • The vertebrae of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
  • Those sand dunes that tripped up porn-spotting AI in Britain.
  • The cast of Sesame Street.
  • Planting guides for Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns that only include images of plants and crops.
  • The staff’s actual announcement post for the ban.

Many users are jokingly wondering if this ban will even come to fruition, considering the fact that the site’s team tends to be more than a little inept when attempting to implement changes or new features. Some are joking that they will be back in a month when the staff gives up on the new site change. This isn’t the first attempt to curtail nsfw content on the site, after all.

Tumblr’s claim that they won’t be blocking “political protest[s] with nudity” or fine art, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s David statue, does make one wonder how effective this ban really will be. After all, David does have his very recognizably male genitalia out in the open, and a woman’s nipple remains a (female) nipple whether the woman is in a sexual situation or at a political rally.

Others are more upset by these changes than anything else. Commission artists and sex workers can make a good profit by using the platform. Many have said that they were responsible about using Tumblr features to keep users that were under 18 off of their blogs which featured explicit content. Having a look at what else the “automated tools” are blocking because they think it’s porn even though it isn’t, makes one wonder who else will be affected.

Users do have a chance to appeal flagged content, which will be useful for the affected blogs that really don’t have any explicit content. Users who do run blogs heavy with adult content will have the opportunity to export all of their content as well.

Many users that are sure they are going to go–or are taking this as an invitation to go–are frantically trading Twitter and other social media handles, and have been very vocal on other sites about their decision to leave Tumblr behind. Ultimately, we’ll have to wait and see what Tumblr looks like after December 17–if we’re spared.

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