The More Things Change: Tumblr Nipples Edition

If you somehow missed it, back in December Tumblr decided it was going to have new “community guidelines” and generally annoyed a goodly chunk of the internet.

There’s been a lot of good discussion about how this change ends up hurting communities of people (particularly LGBTQ+, fetish and kink communities, and sex workers), but there’s two very important things you need to take from this.

First, if you’re a content creator of any type, you are at the mercy of your platforms. I’ve seen this before with my nonsense booting off G+ (last laugh’s on you, Google), or the other restrictions that centralized social media have put on posts, particularly if they are just out to make a profit. My advice is still the same as it has been since 2012 (!) – have your own, independent (and preferably self-hosted) platforms and distribution channels for your work.

Second, if you’re a typical person, you should know the sort of thing that’s being flagged by these algorithms. Aside from the ways copyright gets abused to take down content(1) , the ways of flagging “adult” content are extremely flawed.

For example, Tumblr flagged the following posts of mine as “adult” (by their own definition, quoted above). Apparently the system thinks held hands, Archer, my dog, my kid, an article about domestic harassment, and a manatee are “adult”. (Okay, maybe Archer, lol)

I will admit, all of these posts were approved once I submitted them for review.

The post of mine that contained “adult content”? The one that did not contain “newsworthy speech”?

This post, talking about how Instagram – which also has a “men’s nipples only” policy – was being frustrated by people posting images of genderless nipples.

  1. For example: My girlfriend got banned from YouTube indefinitely for shaky phone video of a concert that she went to…but you can find lots of other video of the same concert still up.

Featured Photo by Daniel Cheung on Unsplash

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