UPDATE: Tumblr's corporate site released a statement today clarifying the blocking of tags on various mobile devices: "The reason you see innocent tags like #gay being blocked on certain platforms is that they are still frequently returning adult content which our entire app was close to being banned for," Tumblr explained. "The solution is more intelligent filtering which our team is working diligently on." They then promised, "We’ll get there soon." And knowing Tumblr's dedication to their users, we've no doubt they will. (Tumblr)
Tumblr has blocked all of its users (and those curiously perusing the site's tags) from viewing anything that has been tagged "#gay", "#lesbian", "#bisexual", and 26 other tags that have been deemed NSFW. Apparently, Yahoo believes that the majority of content posted to these tags is pornographic, and must therefore be blocked. This a.) completely goes against Marissa Mayer's initial approach to Yahoo's Tumblr buyout where she claimed that “Part of our strategy here is to let Tumblr be Tumblr.” And b.) It totally alienates the LGBTQ community that has grown to thrive on the micro-blogging site.
One of Tumblr's strongest assets is not just the ease of curating an archive of thoughts, images, and a solid internet brand name for yourself; it's the communities that have formed as a result of the freedom Tumblr provides its users. For someone struggling with their sexual identity, Tumblr can become a source of comfort and camaraderie. The tags that Tumblr has blocked from their iOS6 app are filled with encouragement, support, and carry the message The Trevor Project has made famous, "It gets better," proudly. Among the 29 tags that have been blocked, "#gay," "#lesbian," and "#bisexual" are the least offensive. Blocking tags that are more closely related to violence and pornography like "#twinks," #MILF," and "#ToplessTuesday" makes sense, but blocking a tag that's more often used for counseling over titillation is a complete lack of regard for the well-being of the LBGT community. It is as if they were saying being gay is just as NFSW as graphic images found under the tag "#BDSM" or "#blood."
Oddly, Tumblr hasn't blocked tags like "#necrophilia" or "#kink." Yahoo's new Tumblr restrictions will not stop the uploading, re-blogging, and access to NSFW material, though. There are a million different variations and sexual slang terms that adult content can be placed under and archived, but now a user searching for support will find it that much more difficult to find some sense of place, and ease of mind. (The Gloss)
Photo: Courtesy of Hayden Manders.