Wait, what?

Looks like you came here from Geekosystem. Don't worry, everything is still here. We've just combined forces with The Mary Sue to bring you more and better content, all in one place.

Tumblr Cracks Down On Adult Content, Suffers An Unrelated Security Breach. Karma?

And That's Terrible

It’s not been a great day for Tumblr. First there’s a “security vulnerability” in their iOS apps that put their users’ passwords at risk. Second, they’re facing backlash over a new policy toward adult content.

Yahoo, is this your doing?

First, the porn, because priorities for Chrissakes. The Daily Dot reports that Tumblr has made it so “adult blogs” are no longer searchable, meaning none of their posts will show up on a public tag search. And there’s more: Tumblr users have always been able to label their own blogs as “adult,” but apparently now Tumblr can flag your blog as adult for you.

What does this mean? Basically, if your blog is “adult,” or if Tumblr has labelled it as such (people who think they’ve been flagged falsely can appeal to the “Trust & Safety Team”), nothing you post—porn, NSFW content related to sex education, G-rated fanart, X-rated fanart, meta, chocolate chip cookie recipes, fully-dressed fictional characters wearing flower crowns—will appear on tag searches unless the person doing the searching already follows you. Posts by Tumblr user RandomAdultBlog will only be seen by their followers, the followers of people who reblog them, and anyone who gets to the blog via an outside link.

Tumblr does make a distinction between “adult” and “NSFW blogs”—the former has “substantial nudity or mature/adult-oriented content” an the latter has “occasional nudity or mature/adult-oriented content.” Writes The Daily Dot:

According to Tumblr’s explanation of the new restrictions, NSFW blogs should still show up on public tags, as long as users are not browsing in Safe Mode. However, realistically speaking, a huge number of Tumblr accounts are likely to fall into the category of Adult, and will become unsearchable.

That’s pretty awful, not just for people who post porn gifs/NSFW fanart/sex ed information/etc., but also for those who might like to see those posts or other, safe-for-work content posted by flagged blogs. There are ways to block porn on Tumblr if you don’t want to see it (Safe Search and Tumblr Savior); removing every single thing an “adult” blog posts from the tags is way past excessive.

That said, let’s not get all chicken little up in here. For the sake of research (I swear) I did a tag search for “porn,” and, well… there was plenty of stuff there. And I don’t follow porn blogs. (You’ll have to take my word for that.) Granted, I have no idea whether it’s the same amount of porn that’s usually in the porn tag, or whether it’s the same degree of porn, or… look, I’m going to put an end to this anecdote now.

And we have no idea how liberal Tumblr’s going to be with flagging blogs as adult. Under this new policy it’s possible that reblogging the occasional NSFW fanart might get you removed from the tags, but I can’t imagine it’s likely.

They way Tumblr chooses to enforce its policy might not be as bad as it looks (which is pretty bad); they’re notoriously bad at actually communicating with their user base, after all. That lack of transparency is part of the problem. If they’re going to remove certain things/users who fit certain requirements from the tags, they should at least tell us what their criteria is and, if they’re being super-generous, give us a way to re-NSFW our tags.

Heck, it’s their site. They can do what they want. But I can’t see how putting up roadblocks to large numbers of users from gaining new followers could possibly help them in the long run.

The Daily Dot also reports that some tags have “disappeared” from the iPhone app, among them “gay,” “lesbian,” and “bisexual” (but not “bi,” “lgbt,” and “queer”). That might just be a technical issue that Tumblr’s aware of and trying to repair, though. (I can dream). The app is notoriously FUBAR, after all.

Which brings me to my second bit o’ Tumblr news. If you use the Tumblr app on iOS, you might want to change your password. Writes Derek Gottfrid on the Tumblr staff’s official blog:

“We have just released a very important security update for our iPhone and iPad apps addressing an issue that allowed passwords to be compromised in certain circumstances… If you’ve been using these apps, you should also update your password on Tumblr and anywhere else you may have been using the same password… Please know that we take your security very seriously and are tremendously sorry for this lapse and inconvenience.”

Quoth CNN, “passwords were ‘sniffed’ or detected while in transit on certain versions of the app.”

Somewhere the Facebook staff is crying tears of joy that another site is royally screwing up for once.

(via: The Huffington Post, CNN, The Daily Dot)

Are you following The Mary Sue on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, & Google +?

Filed Under |

© 2014 The Mary Sue   |   About UsAdvertiseNewsletterJobsContributorsComment PolicyPrivacyUser AgreementDisclaimerContactArchives RSS

Dan Abrams, Founder
  1. Mediaite
  2. Gossip Cop
  3. Styleite
  4. SportsGrid
  5. The Mary Sue
  6. The Maude
  7. The Braiser