Tumblr NSFW Content Purge

From Fanlore
Jump to: navigation, search
Event
Event: The Purge, Tumblr NSFW Content Purge, #tumblrpurge, Tumblr Strikethrough, Tumblrocalypse
Participants: Tumblr
Date(s): November 2018 -
Type:
Fandom: multifandom
URL:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
Similar Occurrences

For other incidents in which platforms used by fan communities have cracked down on fanworks, discussion by fans, and fansites with "inappropriate" content, see:

For a more general related topic, see List of Content Banned by Archives.

The Tumblr NSFW Content Purge refers to a late 2018 incident in which Tumblr's iOS app was removed from the App Store, and numerous blogs with NSFW content subsequently deleted, due to a reported issue with child pornography. Eventually a full ban on visual NSFW content was announced by Tumblr.

The incident took place not three months after The Snappening, another event in which Tumblr fan blogs were purged, this time for copyright-related reasons.

A #tumblrpurge graphic created by 8thiago7. Its caption on Tumblr reads, "Mourning. My heartfelt condolences to all who have lost their nsfw blog. Getting followers is hard work, not to mention the collection that many have probably missed. It was a cruel, dishonest, and utterly unjust act."

The Beginning: App Disappearance and Child Pornography Revelations

On November 16, 2018, Tumblr's iOS app suddenly vanished from the App Store, with no information available as to why it had disappeared. The app was initially unavailable to users with parental controls enabled, and then completely unavailable.[1] Tumblr initially stated only that it was "working to resolve an issue with the iOS app and hope[d] to be fully functional again soon."

However, apps website Download.com approached Tumblr with independent sources claiming that the app was removed "due to child pornography that got past the site's filters".[1] When confronted with this evidence, Tumblr made a public statement confirming that the issues were related to child pornography on its platform.[2]

Fan Blogs Are Affected

Around November 19, 2018, distraught fans began reporting on Twitter and Tumblr that their blogs had been deleted without warning. The affected blogs appeared to be primarily art blogs with NSFW content, although SFW blogs were also affected. Users on Twitter and Tumblr coined the hashtag #tumblrpurge to tag their accounts of blog removals and discuss the purge as well as blog retrieval strategies.

[@elleasf]

im so freaking raging in anger rn bcs @tumblr terminated my blog for no reason! i sent a ticket to support team and i hope they fix it and bring back my acct and also i seek a very gooooooood reason why did they tolerate it. tf w this. ridiculous! im so pissed off no kidding.[3]

[@nighttimechakai [4]]

What the hell, my tumblr account got deleted out of nowhere D: I never even got anon hate or had a post taken down! I've contacted support...

[@Lumi10103164]

Mine was deactivated too. It seems that Tumblr was removed from IOS App Store because too much porn so tumblr deactivated tons of nsfw blogs. Even sfw blogs has been deactivated. Take a look at #tumblrpurge

[cherry-flavour322]

WHAT THE FUCK?

Where is the porn? I tried looking it up on mobile and NOTHING came up? There isnt even that fucking lock at the end that enables safe mode. If this is how tumblr is going to be then fuck this. I like the fandom stuff and occasional drama but i was here for the porn to god damn it. Anyone know if this is to do with the app store thing? [5]

[@Mewshuji]

So apparently it's not even just effecting NSFW blogs or people with NSFW blogs... but people with purely and only SFW blogs.

Goddammit Tumblr get your fucking shit together. This is what you get for ignoring the porn bot problem for YEARS.[6]

[@Pup_Amp]

Just a heads up that @tumblr is deleting adult and NSFW blogs left and right. Please follow creators you enjoy from tumblr on their other platforms before it's too late.

How easily Tumblr is deleting a culture of sex-positive content and all it's taken is a single click.[7]

However, some were sceptical about how widespread the purge actually was (versus how much was rumour and hysteria). On November 20, copperbadge responded to an Ask on his Tumblr:

[anonymous]

Apple booted tumblr from the App Store and now tumblr is doing its best Thanos interpretation. May you and those dear to you survive.

[copperbadge]

Do we know how many people have actually had this happen to them? I’ve seen one firsthand account, and I’m sure there are more, but is this really a Thanos-snap situation? Granted I only follow 100 blogs but I haven’t had this happen to anyone I know, or presumably anyone they know. Of course, it’s still horrible for the people it has happened to or is happening to, but I think also the deletions are perhaps drawing attention away from several other aspects of this situation.

I thought this was funny because Tumblr got grounded by Dad when he caught him with all the porn. I couldn’t stop laughing at the mental image of Tumblr with a backwards cap and a popped collar walking into his bedroom to find Steve Jobs sitting on his bed with his box of Playboys. “Son, we need to talk.”

But here’s the thing: it’s not the porn bots. It’s child porn. And not what angry young tumblrs call child porn. Actual facts explicit photographic sexual images of exploited young children. Which isn’t funny at all. And while I genuinely am sorry for people who got their tumblrs deleted on accident, like….it appears nothing is permanent, and there’s a point at which I’m willing to accept the collateral damage that I might get temporarily deleted in return for no child porn on my social media network.[8]

Although the purge seemed to be affecting a minority of fan blogs, it was significant enough to be causing serious distress to the users affected, not least because of similarities to numerous past purges of "inappropriate" fannish content by platforms like LiveJournal (see Strikethrough and Boldthrough), Fanfiction.net (see FanFiction.net's NC-17 Purges), and Quizilla (see Regarding the Citrus Content for one such example).

[@Reina_Lovelace]

Also, I'm having PTSD (figuratively) moments with the #tumblrpurge. When TeenNick bought out Quizilla, they were starting to do something similar; either removing nsfw material or banning fanfic writers out right. Then that was it. The website got shut down. (2/3)[9]

[@b_writes]

Same thing happened in #strikethrough back in the LJ days. Lot of people got told they MUST have been doing something wrong. Though this era has more thoughtcrime behind it, not an improvement.[10]

Some fans were successful in contacting Tumblr staff to have their blogs restored,[11] but others either received no response or were outright refused. jaspurrlock, a fanartist posting NSFW art of characters from Voltron: Legendary Defender and Boku No Hero Academia, was one well-known example: upon contacting Tumblr support, she received a response from the Tumblr Trust & Safety Team claiming that her blog featured “inappropriate content involving or depicting minors” and handing out a “final” termination that banned her from the site.[12] jaspurrlock published the responses from Tumblr staff to her Twitter account (account tweets protected), which attracted a number of supportive tweets[13][14] along with a great deal of flaming, harassment and vitriol from users who believed the ban was deserved.[15][16][17]

Users began noting down details that the affected blogs had in common, in order to get a sense of what Tumblr would and would not permit on its platform (as Tumblr itself was not offering clarity on this issue). Some theorised that external links were an issue,[18] or that popular blogs were affected due to the porn bots that frequently reblogged them.[19] On November 21, freedom-of-fanfic posted a response to an Anonymous ask:

[anonymous]

I've seen several people who couldn't get their blogs back because they had nsfw of canonically underage characters, even if they're aged up. The email response is: As per the policies you agreed to when creating a tumblr account, we do not allow inappropriate content involving or depicting minors on tumblr. Creating new blogs or accounts with this same subject matter or content will result in immediate account termination. This termination is final, and replies to this message are not reviewed.

[freedom-of-fanfic]

‘several’? interesting. I know of one person with a blog of this description who was hit with this termination message (jaspurrlock), and I don’t know what steps they may have to try to get their blog back.

if tumblr is indeed purging blogs for explicit images of fictional minors, let’s try to get some information flowing here so we can piece together a rough idea of what kind of fictional content is no longer permitted by tumblr’s abuse staff. is it sexually explicit artwork of any character that could arguably be considered canonically under 18? Is it artwork where the characters have the (somewhat subjective) appearance of being ‘young’? are they deleting shota/loli artwork archives? or is it more or less random chance that any one artist will get their account terminated?

if you have more information, it would be great to get specifics about what kind of content was on the blogs that were specifically terminated for “inappropriate content involving or depicting minors on tumblr” and what steps have already been taken.

  • which blogs were terminated for this? are you certain they tried appealing and were denied?
  • about how many followers did the affected blogs have? did they have a significantly-sized hatedom of people who would mass-report their content?
  • was the content flagged as adult or no?
  • what was the canon age of the fictional minors being depicted?
  • was the art explicit (visible genitals)? were the characters drawn in ways specifically intended to invoke prepubescent bodies (i.e. no pubic hair, or lacking other signs of pubescence)?
  • was it realistic or cartoonish?
  • were any of the characters portrayed therein from a live action show where the characters are played by actors who are minors?
  • were any of the affected blogs posting written works rather than drawn artwork?

I know this is a lot of questions, but there’s a lot of things to wonder about if tumblr is moving this direction. and if tumblr won’t lay down lines about what’s allowed and what’s not, we have to guess at them.[20]

Intentional, or a Glitch?

Fans were divided over whether Tumblr's deletion of a number of innocent blogs - either those which posted NSFW art that didn't depict minors in any way, or those which posted exclusively SFW art - was intentional, the result of a heavy-handed approach to removing the real pornography from its platform, or a technical glitch.

[@rubyenraylls]
Apparently Tumblr is now purging all NSFW content in the great #tumblrpurge

First they removed the ability to search NSFW content on mobile, now all NSFW content must go (SFW content is getting caught up in it too.)

This is apparently due to some poor filtering. :( [21]

[@Leonidas1754]

I honestly don't think Tumblr is trying to get rid of nsfw content and are legit trying to get rid of CP and Bots. They're just doing a really fucking bad job and the lack of communication makes it 1000% worse. #tumblrpurge [22]

[@YukiPri_Art]
I've heard:
-NSFW purge to remove porn bots that cast its net too wide
-It's a glitch and accident
-It's users with links in their bios
-It's antis manipulating the chaos to report blogs with ships they don't like

They're all rumors, to my knowledge.

#TumblrPurge 2/ [23]
Graphic created by wolfskies25. The caption on Tumblr reads:
An idea that me and @becomehomeagain had about this whole Tumblr Porn Bot Purge scenario.
Iceberg hitting the Titanic = Porn bots invading Tumblr
Lifeboats carrying people away from the ship = Tumblr users being deleted
Person in the bottom corner just watching = The staff not giving a sh*t about the anger of their users
.. Pretty fitting, no?

However, most users agreed that the biggest issue wasn't with Tumblr's over-enthusiastic removals of blogs, but with the complete lack of any communication or updates on the unfolding situation. In particular, many people pointed out that if there had been a change in Tumblr's Terms of Service that meant previously-compliant blogs were now not in compliance, Tumblr was legally obliged to communicate this to its userbase.

[@noctidial]

I think the most frustrating thing about the #tumblrpurge is that @tumblr @Tumblrsupport REFUSE to give a statement on their site or Twitter about the innocent and compliant blogs that were terminated. Absolutely NO warning. If things changed, we LEGALLY need to know.[24]

[derahex]
Tumblr deleting blogs without making a "we changed our terms of service, you have X hours to match your blogs to those changes" is DeviantArt-tier

(If deviantart staff actually did anything ever, that is)[25]


Others pointed out that Tumblr's implementation was chaotic and lacked human review. For example, fan art that depicted robots having sex with tentacle monsters was deleted for bestiality, which led one fan to mourn that even Hollywood Oscar award winning movies were at risk:

"I guess this means The Shape of Water is a no-no as well? /stares mournfully at gifs of fishloving [26]

When the artist attempted to explain to Tumblr that the "characters" were cartoon dinosaur robots, they were told: ""This termination is final, and replies to this message will not be reviewed." [27]

Disabled users were also impacted. One fan wrote:

"I was looking for the Chronic Pain tag today and discovered it had been purged. which is probably why my og account was purged because like half my posts were tagged that way because of my fibromyalgia and RA. My friend thinks it was the drug deals in the tag which caused it to be targeted.[28]

Even text based blogs were deleted, undercutting the argument that Tumblr's primary focus was child porn images:

"[Radical Feminist Identification/RFID Blocking] ...is the first blog I’ve seen purged that contained literally nothing but text. No images, videos, audio. Nothing that could be construed as pornographic by even the broadest strokes. So, you know. Words are bad now, or whatever."[29]

Complicating matters was Tumblr's shadow ban of certain keyword searches that could have assisted in ascertaining the extent of the impact: searches for "tumblr purge" led to no results.[30] Other banned searches included "fandom wank" possibly due to one of the words also having sexual connotation in the UK. The list of search terms blanked included: ""breast cancer," "safe sex" and "chronic pain".[31]

Perhaps one fan summed it up best:

"Tumblr dies the way it lived: completely fucking ridiculous.[32]

Assistance with Archiving

A group calling itself the Archive Team started an initiative to help archive Tumblr's endangered blogs in the wake of the purge. On December 4, 2018, a day after the official ban on adult content, a Tumblr blog called 17decemberarchive published a post entitled Save endangered tumblrs before 17. December, which read:

Hello Tumblr users,

we are the Archive Team, the Archive Team is a loose collective of rogue archivists, programmers, writers and loudmouths dedicated to saving our digital heritage. Since 2009 this variant force of nature has caught wind of shutdowns, shutoffs, mergers, and plain old deletions - and done our best to save the history before it’s lost forever. We already worked on other Yahoo related projects like GeoCities and Flickr.

You can learn more about us under https://archiveteam.org/.

We plan to save many as many of the endangered blogs as possible. To do that we take multiple approaches.

  1. We use or scan of Tumblr we did in April 2018
  2. Some guys are working on an AI solution to detect endangered pictures
  3. We look for tags manually

But just us looking is not enough. You know Tumblr better than us.

Submit your favorite endangered Tumblrs here. That way we can be sure not miss them and put them in front of our queue.

The team also created a hashtag for the archiving effort, #tumbledown.[33] On December 7, the team announced that it had reached 500 submissions of endangered blogs.[34] For more about this effort, see The frantic race to save every NSFW Tumblr for posterity, Archived version.

A group of Redditors led by itdnhr also set out to archive any NSFW blogs that had been submitted to Reddit and were still live. itdnhr compiled an initial list of 67,000 blogs that had been submitted over the past 7 years, of which 43,000 were found to still be online.[35]

Archiving Attempts Blocked by Tumblr

On December 15, 2018, Jason Scott - founder of the Archive Team - tweeted that the team's efforts to archive blogs were being blocked by Tumblr staff:

[@textfiles]
GOOD MORNING INTERNET

This morning, Tumblr mass IP-banned entire swaths of @archiveteam volunteers and warrior instances. Some of our folks will do some work to see if they can get a little more out, but Tumblr has spoken: Get the hell off our lawn, we got some deletin' to do.[36]

Other users running their own archiving efforts also tweeted to report that they had been blocked or banned by Tumblr.[37][38]

Rumours of Tumblr Shutdown

As word spread about Tumblr's app disappearing from the App Store, rumours began to circulate that the site might be on the verge of shutting down. Some noticed that Tumblr staff appeared to have stopped responding for requests to restore purged blogs, and wondered if there might be a link.

[nonbinary-newsies-nerd]
Social Media

So,I’m really confused on if Tumblr has already shut down(it won’t even show up on the App Store) or if it’s going to, but incase, my cosplay Instagram is Calistar_Cosplay.[39]

[@gatobob3]

I've heard rumours of #tumblr shutting down entirely. Nothing confirmed. One thing I've noticed is that blog revival appears to have stopped. Only on the first day or so were people getting blogs back. #tumblrpurge[40]

[@gatobob3]

My personal theory is that legal battles and chaos have caused the company outlook to drop. Will they invest in paying employees to clean up the mess- or cut their losses and run? The second option sounds more likely to me. #tumblrpurge[41]

Tracking The Fallen and The Missing

Blogs

Tags

Sexual Tags

  • rimming
  • safe sex

Fandom Tags

Other Tags

  • Chronic pain
  • tumblr purge
  • breast cancer
  • sexual attraction

Sample "Flags"

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

  • "FUCKING THIS POST ITSELF IS FLAGGED, I’M DYING! @staff YOUR BS IS KILLING ITSELF!!!!"[45]
  • "ok so our titty choices are now: cubism, jpeg, manga, and Picasso’s Blue Period"[46]
  • "Opabinia has been extinct for 497,000,000 slutty, slutty years."[47]
  • "IT GOT FUCKING FLAGGED I’M SCREAMING" / "They’re fearing our resistance"[48]
  • "So here's something. Users are testing the limits of Tumblr's new algorithm that flags adult content (aka "censorbot"). This one found that a man's chest was flagged, but a man's chest next a 50% scale owl went unnoticed."[49]
  • "They’re using a fucking one-layer unidirectional bicategory tag-trained neural network. This will never work. Literally, it will never work. There’s just not enough algorithmic complexity to do what they’re asking of it. I bet you I could prove on a mathematical level that this joke of a neural net fundamentally lacks the abstraction necessary to do its job."[50]
  • "This post was flagged because somewhere in your reblog there might be adult content."[51]

Adult Content Banned

On December 3, 2018, Tumblr announced that a full NSFW ban would go into effect on December 17, banning "photos, videos, or GIFs that show real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples, and any content—including photos, videos, GIFs and illustrations—that depicts sex acts." Staff specified that users could still freely post "exposed female-presenting nipples in connection with breastfeeding, birth or after-birth moments, and health-related situations, such as post-mastectomy or gender confirmation surgery", as well as "Written content such as erotica, nudity related to political or newsworthy speech, and nudity found in art, such as sculptures and illustrations".[52]

Prior to December 2018, Tumblr's official stance on the posting of "adult content" was:

Is NSFW content allowed on Tumblr?

Sure. We have no problem with that kind of stuff. Go nuts. Show nuts. Whatever. [53]

In December, this changed:

Is adult content allowed on Tumblr?

Starting Dec 17, adult content will not be allowed on Tumblr, regardless of how old you are. You can read more about what kinds of content are not allowed on Tumblr in our Community Guidelines. If you spot a post that you don’t think belongs on Tumblr, period, you can report it: From the dashboard or in search results, tap or click the share menu (paper airplane) at the bottom of the post, and hit "Report." [54]

Tumblr CEO Jeff D’Onofrio authored a post on the staff blog regarding the December 2018 policy change, titling it "A better, more positive Tumblr":

Over the past several months, and inspired by our storied past, we’ve given serious thought to who we want to be to our community moving forward and have been hard at work laying the foundation for a better Tumblr. We’ve realized that in order to continue to fulfill our promise and place in culture, especially as it evolves, we must change. Some of that change began with fostering more constructive dialogue among our community members. Today, we’re taking another step by no longer allowing adult content, including explicit sexual content and nudity (with some exceptions).
[...]
It is our continued, humble aspiration that Tumblr be a safe place for creative expression, self-discovery, and a deep sense of community. As Tumblr continues to grow and evolve, and our understanding of our impact on our world becomes clearer, we have a responsibility to consider that impact across different age groups, demographics, cultures, and mindsets. We spent considerable time weighing the pros and cons of expression in the community that includes adult content. In doing so, it became clear that without this content we have the opportunity to create a place where more people feel comfortable expressing themselves.
Bottom line: There are no shortage of sites on the internet that feature adult content. We will leave it to them and focus our efforts on creating the most welcoming environment possible for our community. [55]

Detailed guidelines linked to "A better, more positive Tumblr": Updates to Tumblr’s Community Guidelines; archive link (December 3).

D’Onofrio expressed that this new policy did not have anything to do with the issue of child pornography, but many users were doubtful of that.

[navolot]
Fuck off @staff you lazy cucks, instead of dealing with the fucking bots and cp you just take the easy way out and nuke everyone. I hope this site crashes and burns, its a piece of glitchy shit and i hope you enjoy daddy Yahoo’s cash cock. [56]

[a-l-o-n-e-t-o-g-e-t-h-e-r]
“Let’s not put in the time to ACTUALLY properly target bots, pedophilia, and hate speech and instead remove a huge portion of our positive community, leaving artists without a platform to sell their work and a way for people to sexually express themselves in a positive way. Enjoy Hell, everyone!

"Sincerely, Bitch-Ass CEO”[57]

Deanna Echanique, a Tumblr user and professional romance/erotica artist, wrote this in response to D’Onofrio's post:

Wow. I’ve been a Tumblr member for nearly a decade. I’ve grown an audience, a following, made friends, and found a home in my fandom.

I’m an erotic artist and I will be purged.

You say there is a ton of places on the internet for adult content, but that’s a lie. Left and right we are being removed, or shunted to unsearchable voids like you do here (and patreon does). The people who grew your platform are just a stepping stone to be discarded once you think it’s too hard to police your platform against illegal content. Instead of hiring moderators to remove child porn, you’ll throw us all in the garbage. Forget that sexuality and erotica is a form of expression, an exploration of fantasy in a safe way (via art).

I’m glad, at least, I’ll have a few days after my vacation to pull my content, so I don’t lose almost a decade of my work.

You know, erotica is my livelihood, my succor, what keeps me creatively alive and also keeps me financially secure. I always knew if something went wrong with my day job, I can always take commissions. I can plug my existing content and make some money to fill the gap with my audience here. I sold more copies of Clutch (my harpy friends to lovers story) this week thanks to a popular blog boost than I have in months.

But fuck us, huh? Fuck sexual expression. Fuck erotic creativity. Fuck the people who made your platform big and the community you’ve built.

Erotica has always been disposable, the first to go in these Puritan purges in the name of ‘save the children’. Tale as old as time.

I’m not sure where I’ll go from here. I’m almost 35 years old and I have to build my audience from the ground up.

Again.[58]

Another artist, Luke/Takoto responded thus:

I don’t give a heck about posting n/s/f/w content but there are so many problems with this whole debacle

  • The wording of “female-presenting nipples” - which is thinly veiled sexism and you know the “presenting” part will be ignored, so transmasc people who have breasts will be given the boot, as well as enby and intersex folks who have “feminine breasts”.
  • The fact this is just because staff can’t be bothered to manually moderate the site so they’re just like “lol let’s just ban it all!” - they haven’t been for months, maybe years. I regularly reported illegal nsfw content that was never removed.
  • The fact there are still nazis and white supremacists running around openly on here but nah that’s fine, lads. Can’t have nipples but fascists and nazis are a-okay [sarcasm].
  • The fact that tons of artists who use the website and happen to draw primarily nude characters might be affected by this - like tumblr staff says they won’t but I really don’t believe that.
  • The sheer fact alone that tumblr staff didn’t do anything about rampant pedos (”maps”) and CP, bestiality and zoophilia, etc. despite knowing it was on here, until they were removed from the Apple store.
  • The evidence that tumblr staff never gave a hoot about protecting under 18 year olds on the site, and are only doing this to save face now that things have gone extremely wrong.

Tumblr could have been such a good website but it’s been ruined by incompetent, lazy staff. I’ve been using tumblr for like nine, ten years now and it’s just, been utter incompetence at every turn.

Once a stable alternative pops up (probably pillowfort, if they can get the infrastructure) I’m outta here. [59]

On December 4, 2018, greywash posted State of the Migration: On fannish archival catastrophes, and what happens next on Dreamwidth, with developing conversations in comments:

First: let me start off by saying that it is very probable that Tumblr will back out of this particular bad idea. They often do. The pattern of fannish archival catastrophes at the hand of corporations almost always has five stages: 1) a sale, or rumored sale, of the platform; 2) falling or nonexistent profits; 3) pressure from (pick at least one) governments, morality warriors, and/or advertisers/other corporate interests; 4) the actual fannish archival catastrophe, caused by a change in the TOS or in the enforcement of the TOS, which itself frequently comes in multiple stages; and 5) a second sale of the platform.


Following this pattern, here is what I suspect is going to happen to Tumblr: 1) Tumblr was sold to Yahoo (now owned by Verizon); 2) Yahoo/Verizon tried to monetize it; 3) Yahoo/Verizon got pressure from a) various governments, including Indonesia and China, b) the anti-porn/anti-sex-work/anti-shipping moral purity police, and c) [ETA for advertisers link] advertisers/the Apple Store to bring its "adult content problem" under control; 4) starting earlier this year, Tumblr deleted a whole bunch of blogs, backed up and said "mea culpa", and then... changed its TOS and started deleting content [← we're here right now]; and 5) Verizon will sell Tumblr to ? ? ?

[...]

My point, here, is just that we have been here before. Exactly here. We have done this before, exactly this. Tumblr may take a while to bleed out, and they may try to triage it, but the writing is, in fact, on the wall: Tumblr will throw us off whatever cliffs they need to to try and eke out a profit for the morons in Verizon's boardroom; and in the end, our data's going to get deleted, or it's going to get sold, because that is just how these things go.

So we need to figure out where we go next.

Some users wished to continue to post and reblog NSFW content that had avoided being flagged, but there was uncertainty on how to tag it, since tag searches for terms such as "R18" or "NSFW" were blocked. Posts began to circulate about bringing back the term "lemon" as a NSFW tag[60][61][62], and some content creators actually implemented this.

NSFW will be tagged as #lemon
sorta NSFW is #Lime
Weird fet shit/ extreme NSFW is #orange
reblog to spread awareness that we’re back on the citrus scale[63]

In 2019: A New Wave of Tag Eradication

[perhaps some info from the talk page]?

This article or section needs expansion.

Naming the Purge

There have been many proposed names, partly because nobody could settle on one, and partly because tumblr kept hiding posts using various anti-tumblr tags. Some proposed names/tags include:

tumblrpocalypse, tumbldown, strikethrough 2.0, tumblr purge, tumblrpurge, tumblragnarok

Log Off Protest

A protest of the new policy was planned for the same day that the ban on adult content would be implemented. The protest was dubbed the "Log Off Protest" because it involved Tumblr users pledging to log off from the site and stay logged off for 24 hours, thereby (in theory) causing Tumblr's traffic to take a huge hit, and showing staff how users felt about the new policy.

The protest was originally proposed by dbdspirit on December 3, 2018, who wrote in a Tumblr post:

In response to the NSFW ban being enacted by Tumblr Staff, on December 17th 2018 I propose that we all log off of our Tumblr accounts for 24 hours.

The lack of respect and communication between staff and users is stark. Users have been begging staff to delete the porn bot outbreak, which has plagued the website for well over a year. The porn bots oftentimes send people asks and messages, trying to get them to go to a website full of viruses. They also spam advertisements on others posts.

Users have also begged that Tumblr ban neo-nazis, child porn, and pedophiles, all which run rampant on the site. The site/app got so bad that it was taken off the app store.

However, instead of answering the users, Tumblr has instead taken the liberty to ban all NSFW content, regardless of age. But users have already run into issues of their SFW content being marked as sensitive and being flagged as NSFW, not allowing them to share their work.

Not only does this discriminate again content creators, but it also discriminates against sex workers. Disgustingly, the ban will be enacted on December 17 which is also International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

This ban is disgusting, and while I (and plenty of others) welcome porn bots and child porn being banned, the Tumblr filtration system is broken. It tags artistic work’s nipples as NSFW (when it is art), it tags SFW art as NSFW (when it is not), and does not stop the porn bots, neo-nazis and dozens of other issues.

This ban is discriminatory. This ban is ineffective. This ban is unacceptable.

To protest, log off of your Tumblr account for the entirety of December 17th. Log off at 12 am EST or 9PM PST and stay off for 24 hours. Don’t post. Don’t log on. Don’t even visit the website. Don’t give them that sweet ad revenue.

Tumblr’s stock has already taken a hard hit. Let’s make it tank. Maybe then they will listen to the users.

Reblog to signal boost! We must force change.[64]

The protest began at 12am EST on the morning of December 17, 2018 (5am UTC).[65][66] Another name for the protest was LogOff2018, with protesters using the hashtag #logoff2018. A Tumblr and Twitter were created to publish updates about the protest.

On December 18, 2018, 12:00am EST, the Tumblr blog created for the protest made a post announcing the end of the 24-hour log off protest, and hinting at more waves of protests to come.[67]

Tumblr Staff Respond

On December 17, 2018, the day that the ban on adult content went into effect, Tumblr Staff published a lengthy post addressing the widespread user dissatisfaction with the policy. Some points that the post covered included:

  • Emphasising that the content ban would hide, and not delete, posts in violation of the new policy
  • Reiterating that Tumblr would continue to be "home to marginalized communities"
  • Reassuring users that the automated tools involved in flagging posts would improve, in response to the countless examples of posts that had been erroneously flagged
  • Reiterating some of the examples of content that was still permitted (such as written erotica and artistic nudity) and specifying some exceptions that might need to be appealed if they were misclassified

The post included a reference to the much-ridiculed term "female-presenting nipples" with the aside "(yeah, we know you hate this term)", and was signed off with a "<3".

It also contained some visual examples of imagery that was still permitted within the policy, including an image of artistic nudity, an image of a mammogram, an image of a breastfeeding woman, and an image of some topless protestors.[68]

However, many Tumblr users were unimpressed with this statement, pointing out that it changed nothing of substance about such a damaging policy,[69][70] and that there was no substantive difference between posts being deleted and posts being "hidden" so that they couldn't be accessed.[71][72] Others pointed out the irony of acknowledging users' dislike of the term "female-presenting nipples" yet continuing to use it,[73][74][75] and some were also irritated by the heart used at the end of the post.[76][77] To cap it all off, users who posted the exact same images that Tumblr had used as an example of permitted content found that they were flagged by the algorithm.[78]

Appeals Regarding Flagged Content

Good Luck in Your Hunt

Good luck on finding what's been flagged. From a fan in late December 2018:
The best part of @Tumblr's porn filter: the bots crawl through your posts (I've made 84,322!) and flag them, and you get an email telling you that ONE of them is blocked and needs your review -- but not which one. You just have to look through all 84,322 until you find it. So far as I can tell, there's no way to just get Tumblr to show you which posts have been flagged. [79]

Tumblr Removes Appeal Button

Sometime on, or before, December 19, 2018, Tumblr removed the appeal button that users could use to contact staff regarding their flagged content. [80] [81] [82]

A few days later, a fan posted some complicated directions about a workaround. [83]

Leaving Tumblr

Tutorials for Leaving Tumblr

Making Back-ups & Moving Elsewhere

Dreamwidth Tutorials

Welcome Posts from Other Sites

Migration to Other Platforms

A number of users made the decision to move away from Tumblr as a result of the purge, or to point their followers towards their presence on other sites in case they fell afoul of the purge.

Twitter was the most popular choice as a site with a permissive stance towards adult material, and one where most people already had accounts. Some other fans, particularly those with experience of journal communities such as LiveJournal and Dreamwidth, advocated migrating to Dreamwidth as a long-standing, fandom-friendly alternative to Tumblr. (This was also not the first time that a migration from Tumblr to Dreamwidth had been suggested).

However, the idea of a move to Dreamwidth was less popular among fans whose primary experience of fandom was through Tumblr (which has a very different set of features and fannish behaviours), and among artists, as Dreamwidth's support for image hosting was less than robust. A popular alternative was Pillowfort, a fan-friendly crowdfunded blogging platform whose interface fused elements of Tumblr and LiveJournal.

Pillowfort capitalised on this interest with a November 20 tweet referencing Tumblr's "shenanigans":

[@Pillowfort_io]
In light of recent Tumblr shenanigans, now seems like a good time to remind everyone that http://Pillowfort.io is a new social media platform that aims to give users better content control & communications tools!

More info & how to register: https://www.pillowfort.io/FrequentlyAskedQs [87]

However, shortly afterwards, Pillowfort discovered a security weakness which prompted the site to go offline for maintenance for several days, hobbling the ability of fans to migrate to its community.[88] Fans also expressed doubts about Pillowfort as an alternative to Tumblr based on its unclear Terms of Service surrounding content moderation, lack of GDPR compliance, use of PayPal, and the fact that its .io domain precluded it from hosting adult or sexual content.[89][90][91]

On the same day that Tumblr announced its permanent ban of all adult content, the Dreamwidth admin team published a news post entitled 'Welcome to Dreamwidth, Tumblr folks!' aimed at reassuring incoming Tumblr users that Dreamwidth permitted adult content, was 100% user-focused with no advertiser interests, and was working on improving many of the site's weaknesses such as the website experience on mobile.[92] Tumblr user saixnipples created a Dreamwidth community called the-great-tumblr-purge for "Tumblr refugees" to connect to one another. Some other fans created Dreamwidth tutorials aimed at familiarising Tumblr users with the site.

As suggestions for websites to migrate to proliferated, some fans began rounding up lists of options. One such list by curantodraws, a 'quick guide to the Tumblr NSFW apocalypse', suggested Pillowfort, Twitter, Mastodon, Newgrounds and Hentaifoundry, a website for posting adult art.[93] Piczel.tv, a streaming and image hosting website, published a Tumblr post "offer[ing] up our services as an alternative to Tumblr’s arbitrary shadowbans, deletions, and general stupidity" and announcing that its gallery upload size restriction had been removed, effective immediately.[94] Many fans also flocked to individual fandom Discord servers.[95][96][97] Sharesome positioned itself as an alternative geared specifically towards adult content.

A Network Of Our Own

Main Article: A Network Of Our Own

As Tumblr's initial purge of NSFW blogs (prior to the adult content ban being officially announced) gathered steam, some fans raised the need for an "AO3 for communities",[98][99] referencing the way that Archive of Our Own was set up to provide a safe, maximally inclusive space for fanworks and allow fans to own the servers, on the heels of incidents like FanLib and Strikethrough and Boldthrough. For more on this, see: An Archive Of One's Own (post by astolat).

On December 4 2018, the day after Tumblr announced its ban on adult content, the Organization for Transformative Works' Tumblr posted an official statement in response to the many calls for the OTW to develop a social network:

[transformativeworks]
Hi, folks! We’ve been getting a lot of messages like this lately, so here’s the word.

Like you, we’re concerned about changes to Tumblr’s Terms of Service and how they will impact fandom. However, we also need to consider our ability to build and support new services, given that the OTW is an entirely volunteer-run, donation-supported organization.

There are no plans for the OTW to offer a social media site or forum. It would take a lot of resources that we don’t have, in terms of both the work and the hardware that would be required. And even if we had all the money and personnel we could want, it’s impossible to build a home for all online fannish activity on a single site, so some of fandom would be left out no matter what.[100]

The post continued with some advice on how to preserve and archive endangered Tumblr blogs.

On December 5, user pearwaldorf tweeted, initially jokingly, about reaching out to Pinboard to develop a new space. Pinboard developer Maciej Cegłowski then contacted pearwaldorf indicating a willingness to help.[101]

That same day, Greywash's post "State of the Migration: On fannish archival catastrophes, and what happens next" spun off into a Dreamwidth community, post_tumblr_fandom, created to discuss building a fannish social network.

Distributed/Federated Fandom

Intertwined with the Fandom Platform of the Future discussion and movement was a growing movement towards a distributed, or federated, fandom social network. Another "post-Tumblr" blog, Fandom After Tumblr, run by Sareniel, linked to explanations of federated social networks[102] and Hubzilla, a favoured decentralised open-source social media platform.[103] The post_tumblr_fandom Dreamwidth also began serialising a newsletter, 'Fandom gets closer to the metal' (cross-posted to Fandom After Tumblr), which contained regular updates about Hubzilla and federated fandom.

pearwaldorf and demitas created a Federated Fandom Wiki to provide information to fans about federation, describing the advantages of distributed social media for fandom.[104]

Fans also gathered, discussed ideas and co-ordinated their efforts on the distributed_fandom Discord.

Further Reading/Meta/Fanworks In Response

Articles

Fan Reactions & Discussion

Meta

Fan Songs

NSFW Ban Memes

In response to the impending NSFW ban, many users made reference to the "horny people have no rights" meme. A new meme also emerged due to the unusual language of "female-presenting nipples" used in Tumblr's helpdesk article:

Dark Tumblr, show me the forbidden female presenting nipple[105]
But sir, that’s my emotional support female presenting nipple[106]

Another meme was screenshots of the red "Your post was flagged as explicit" and "This reblog was flagged" warning labels, which often appeared on totally non-explicit image posts.[107] The "Your post was flagged" meme featured in a round-up of 2018 memes, which was posted to Tumblr by thehufflepuffshuffle - ironically, the round-up was itself then flagged as "explicit".

Vids

GIFs, Manips and Fanart

Sale to Automattic

On 12 August 2019, it was announced that Verizon would be selling Tumblr to Automattic, the parent company behind Wordpress, just two years after acquiring the site in its purchase of Yahoo.[108] Fannish glee ensued as it was revealed that Tumblr was sold for "less than $3 million", a significant writedown on the $1.1 billion that Yahoo paid to acquire Tumblr in 2013.[109] Jokes about the purchase referenced Tumblr's purge of NSFW content[110], with one Twitter user commenting that "They could have gotten more from a gofundme of tumblr users who just want their porn back."[111] Comparisons were also drawn to Maciej Cegłowski's infamous purchase of former fannish hub Delicious (which was also owned by Yahoo from 2005-2011) for $35,000.[112]

Following the sale announcement, Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg confirmed that he intended to keep Tumblr's ban on NSFW content in place.[113]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "The reason Tumblr vanished from the App Store: Child pornography that slipped through the filters", Download.com. Published November 20, 2018 (Accessed November 21, 2018).
  2. November 16, 2018: Issues with the iOS app, Tumblr. Accessed November 21, 2018.
  3. Tweet by elleasf, November 19, 2018.
  4. Tweet by @nighttimechakai, November 19, 2018
  5. post by Cherry_flavour322 to Tumblr on 21 November 2018. (Accessed 5 December 2018.)
  6. Tweet by Mewshuji, November 19, 2018.
  7. Tweet by Pup_Amp, November 19, 2018.
  8. Post by copperbadge, Tumblr, November 20, 2018. Accessed November 21, 2018.
  9. Tweet by @Reina_Lovelace, November 19, 2018.
  10. Tweet by @b_writes, November 24, 2018.
  11. Tweet by @The_Shonosha, November 20, 2018 (Accessed November 24, 2018).
  12. NSFW artists speak out as their accounts are suddenly ‘purged’ on Tumblr, The Daily Dot. Published November 20, 2018 (Accessed November 24, 2018).
  13. Tweet by @bakukatty, November 20, 2018.
  14. Tweet by @thatotakutho, November 19, 2018.
  15. Tweet by @hambubungus, November 21, 2018.
  16. Tweet by @salemgriffin, November 21, 2018.
  17. Tweet by @fribbin, November 20, 2018.
  18. okay so by dadbyul, Tumblr. Published November 19, 2018 (Accessed November 24, 2018).
  19. For those unaware because staff isn’t saying it, Tumblr. Published November 19, 2018 (Accessed November 25, 2018).
  20. Post by freedom-of-fanfic, Tumblr, November 21, 2018. Accessed November 21, 2018.
  21. Tweet by @rubyenraylls, November 20, 2018.
  22. Tweet by @Leonidas1754, November 22, 2018.
  23. Tweet by @YukiPri_Art, November 22, 2018.
  24. Tweet by @noctidial, November 23, 2018.
  25. Post by derahex, Tumblr. Published November 20, 2018 (Accessed November 24, 2018).
  26. Re: I bless the wank down in tumblr thread (accessed Nov 25. 2018)
  27. Re: I bless the wank down in tumblr thread (accessed Nov 25. 2018)
  28. So just a heads up it looks like tumblr purged a... - Fandom is my Fandom, Archived version
  29. RFID Blocking was focused on identifying tumblr users who participate in anti-transgender activity. Their archived FAQ can be found : https://archive.is/3IEm2 [1], Archived version
  30. Post by freedom-of-fanfic, Tumblr, Published November 25, 2018, Archived version
  31. List of banned searches/tags on Tumblr - Fandom is my Fandom, Archived version
  32. Re: I bless the wank down in tumblr thread (accessed Nov 25. 2018)
  33. We, the archive team, think that petitions will change nothing. by 17decemberarchive via Tumblr, published December 5, 2018 (Accessed December 9, 2018). Archive link
  34. We reached over 500 submissions but the speed is slowing a little. by 17decemberarchive via Tumblr, published December 7, 2018 (Accessed December 9, 2018). Archive link
  35. List of 67k NSFW Tumblrs submitted to Reddit in the last 7 years, sorted by frequency. by itdnhr via Reddit. Published December 4, 2018 (Accessed December 15, 2018).
  36. Tweet by @textfiles, posted December 15, 2018.
  37. Tweet by @altomare3; archive link, posted December 15, 2018.
  38. Tweet by @dada78641; archive link, posted December 15, 2018.
  39. Post by nonbinary-newsies-nerd, Tumblr. Posted November 22, 2018 (Accessed November 24, 2018).
  40. Tweet by @gatobob3, November 23, 2018.
  41. Tweet by @gatobob3, November 23, 2018.
  42. archive.is link
  43. Wayback machine link; archive.is link
  44. Reblog with screencaps Archived
  45. FUCKING THIS POST ITSELF IS, December 3, 2018. archive link (Accessed December 20, 2018)
  46. ok so our titty choices are now, December 4, 2018. archive link (Accessed December 20, 2018)
  47. From my Drafts. Dirty, dirty, December 4, 2018. archive link (Accessed December 20, 2018)
  48. Never thought I'd die fighting side by side with a kink blog, December 5, 2018. archive link (Accessed December 20, 2018)
  49. Users are testing the limits of Tumblr's new algorithm, December 7, 2018. archive link (Accessed December 20, 2018)
  50. Once, I encountered the funny story of an AI image descriptor with a sheep obsession., December 11, 2018. archive link (Accessed December 20, 2018)
  51. Okay I– WHAT?; archive link (December 18, 2018)
  52. Adult content, Tumblr staff, December 3 2018
  53. “Sure. We have no problem with that kind of stuff. Go nuts. Show nuts. Whatever. “ is cited in When are breasts a bad thing?; archive link by Catherine Knowles (October 13, 2014) and at Nipple Thoughts; archive link by Adrienne Cheney (January 25, 2016) and in Tumblr Vs WordPress: 12 Reasons To Choose WP Today; archive link (January 5, 2018)
  54. Adult content; archive link (undated)
  55. A better, more positive Tumblr, December 3 2018, Jeff D’Onofrio
  56. https://navolot.tumblr.com/post/180762202299/a-better-more-positive-tumblr
  57. http://a-l-o-n-e-t-o-g-e-t-h-e-r.tumblr.com/post/180762217557/a-better-more-positive-tumblr
  58. https://dechanique.tumblr.com/post/180760536344/a-better-more-positive-tumblr, Deanna Echanique, December 3 2018
  59. Post by Luke, December 3 2018
  60. Tumblr thread by deathdaydungeon and just-things-i-like-mostly, January 29, 2019 (Archive link)
  61. "staff: no more nsfw tags". THIS IS AN AGE OF ULTRON SAFE ZONE. January 31, 2019. Retrieved 1 February 2019. 
  62. thiccndrich (January 31, 2019). "Not to date my old ass self, but..." Say it real fast now. Retrieved February 1, 2019. 
  63. Paris Darling-Valentine (January 31, 2019). "NSFW will be tagged as #lemon". xChrononautx. Retrieved February 1, 2019. 
  64. The "log off" protest, by dbdspirit via Tumblr. Published on December 3, 2018 (Accessed December 18, 2018). Archive Link.
  65. 24 hour ‘log off’ protest against Tumblr porn ban, but will it help?, Piunika Web. Published December 5, 2018. Accessed December 17, 2018
  66. Tumblr users’ log off 2018 protest begins as adult content ban comes into force, PiunikaWeb. Published December 17, 2018. Accessed December 17, 2018.
  67. logoffprotest (December 18, 2018), "The Log Off Protest is officially OVER!", Tumblr. Accessed December 18, 2018.
  68. Hey Tumblr– by Tumblr Staff. Published December 17, 2018 (Accessed December 18, 2018).
  69. Tweet by @GamingStitcher, posted December 17, 2018
  70. Reblog by celestial-sugar via Tumblr. Published December 18, 2018 (Accessed December 18, 2018).
  71. Tweet by @logoffprotest, posted December 17, 2018
  72. Tweet by @lanikedvesen, posted December 17, 2018
  73. Tweet by @rd_doodles, posted December 17, 2018
  74. Tweet by @RawLoadsTaken, posted December 17, 2018
  75. Tweet by @homodachii, posted December 17, 2018
  76. Tweet by @mintsui, posted December 17, 2018
  77. https://twitter.com/vantastrange/status/1074743286097678337 Tweet by @vantastrange], posted December 17, 2018
  78. Tumblr's Porn Filter Flags Its Own Examples of 'Permitted' Nudity by Hudson Hongo, Gizmodo. Published December 17, 2018 (Accessed December 18, 2018).
  79. @doctorow, Archived version
  80. And the appeal button is gone now:, Archived version
  81. Tumblr has removed the button that allows you to appeal when its pornbot misclassifies your posts as NSFW, Archived version
  82. Tumblr reportedly removes button used for appealing misclassification of posts as NSFW/explicit - Piunika Web, Archived version
  83. Now here is how you appeal your post when you don’t have the appeal button, Archived version (December 22, 2018). Another fan added: "This only works if you are the original poster. If you reblogged someone else’s post and it is flagged, you must contact them directly and they must follow this process to submit an appeal. I do not know what happens to your reblog if they win their appeal." -- meeedeee.tumblr, Archived version
  84. "Pornhub steals sex-workers’ labour, monetizes it, and gives them nothing back. It drives down the price of their work, and forces them to make more dangerous choices to get the same compensation. Maybe don’t hand fandom over to them." -- teapotsahoy.tumblr; archive link (Dec 5, 2018)
  85. UHM.... SO.... some fan comments, Archived version
  86. Don't Let Them Trick You - MindGeek, PornHub, and YouPorn are Bad News, Archived version (Mar 18, 2018)
  87. Tweet by @Pillowfort_io, November 20, 2018.
  88. Posted by freedom-of-fanfic, Tumblr. Published November 23, 2018 (Accessed November 24, 2018).
  89. Tweet by @lizbarr, posted December 3, 2018
  90. Tweet by @lizbarr, posted December 4, 2018
  91. NIC.IO Domain Registration Rules: "No .IO domain may be used, directly or indirectly, for any purpose that is sexual or pornographic or that is against the statutory laws of any Nation. In the event of the Registry being advised by any party that a specific site breaches this condition then the Registry reserves the right to immediately deactivate the offending registration."
  92. Welcome to Dreamwidth, Tumblr folks!, dw_news, Dreamwidth. Published December 3, 2018 (Accessed December 4, 2018).
  93. Quick guide to the Tumblr NSFW apocalypse, curantodraws via Tumblr. Posted December 3, 2018 (Accessed December 4, 2018).
  94. We at Piczel.tv are sad to see Tumblr’s stance against NSFW artists, piczeltv via Tumblr. Published December 3, 2018 (Accessed December 4, 2018)>.
  95. Tweet by @debwalshweb, posted December 4, 2018.
  96. Tweet by @JaneErikaBrady, posted December 4, 2018.
  97. Flarrowverse Shipyard, Discord Server Open Invitation 15 December 2018, accessed 17 December 2018.
  98. Note by amaluelmwood: What’s pillowfort? I only started hearing about it when this purge started, I feel like I missed something - though I do feel like we need something like what AO3 did cor fanfic, but for art and community…
  99. Reblog by samshinechester: I’m considering going back to DW or LJ, but as I was saying yesterday, an Ao3 based social platform would kick ass. I’m really tired of packing & moving every X years, ffs.
  100. Seeing as tumblr seems to be pushing fandom off the platform... by transformativeworks via Tumblr, posted December 4, 2018 (Accessed December 9, 2018).
  101. Tweet by @pearwaldorf, December 5, 2018.
  102. Federation: social media potlucks! by fandom-after via Tumblr. Published December 19, 2018 (Accessed December 27, 2018).
  103. Update on Hubzilla! by fandom-after via Tumblr. Published December 19, 2018 (Accessed December 27, 2018).
  104. What Is Federation, Federated Fandom Wiki. Accessed December 28, 2018.
  105. https://what-freshly-baked-hell.tumblr.com/post/180771434531/dark-tumblr-show-me-the-forbidden-female
  106. http://elitefourmellie.tumblr.com/post/180768764272/but-sir-thats-my-emotional-support-female
  107. http://elnarez.tumblr.com/post/180762033514/mister-stark-i-dont-feel-so-good
  108. Verizon is selling Tumblr to WordPress’ owner, The Verge. Published August 12, 2019 (Accessed August 14, 2019).
  109. Tweet by Dan Primack, posted August 12, 2019 (Accessed August 14, 2019).
  110. Tweet by @symmering, posted August 13, 2019 (Accessed August 14, 2019).
  111. Tweet by @aspirational_no, posted August 12, 2019 (Accessed August 14, 2019).
  112. The only thing that could possibly add to the schadenfreude of the Tumblr sale... by shinelikethunder via Tumblr. Published August 12, 2019 (Accessed August 14, 2019).
  113. oh fucking boy by Montydragon via Tumblr. Published August 12, 2019 (Accessed August 14, 2019).