HomeTechnologyWhy Does Tumblr Have a Bad Reputation?

Why Does Tumblr Have a Bad Reputation?

The very invention of search engines has been a way for people to engage and communicate without having to meet physically. It is very intellectual, but that intellectualism did not come from robots but human beings.

All information that we find in search engines comes from human beings. They defined the search engine with the data. But it is this very information that increases the probability of having large scale implications. 

In this article, we will talk about one such impact- social networking. We have many social networking sites and applications on the internet or search engines, but not every networking site or application is meant to connect people through their opinions and ideas.

The ones that do adhere to this principle have by-products that have negative implications on human beings.

Tumblr is one such networking site that pushes the envelope for sharing ideas, opinions and perspectives about specific conditions of life, be it economic, political, social or even sexual. It was a driving force when the networking industry was booming.

History is a witness to the fact that every idea which had a boom initially comes down to a boon, as is happening with Tumblr, which is now slowly bleeding its goodwill. In other words, it now has a bad reputation.

We will try to explain why Tumblr have a bad reputation and how it reached that stage and provide a chronology of the events that led to such a tag being associated with it.

What is Tumblr?

Tumblr is a microblogging website that provides the space to its users to share ideas and connect with people.

It was established in the year 2007 by David Karp. It provides access through a dashboard to its users for blogging. In addition, it allows the users to keep their blogs private too. It is a way for bloggers to create short term blogs and to express them in the most minimal way possible.

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It garnered a reputation for its idea of making one blogger follow the other. It became very popular, especially because of the content that the users were producing.

It became a hub for expressing novel ideas and contributing to the progressive narrative of various social conditions of human beings.

Tumblr started losing its reputation from the very source that was the pipeline for its goodwill- content. It failed to moderate the content that its users were using, and slowly it became out of control.

It became a source for producing content that was unethical for many citizens, and slowly the negativity around it gained traction, and now it has surpassed the line where moderation could have taken place. In other words, they missed tackling their strategic inflection point.

It came to such a point that Apple had to remove the application from its app store, citing the reason for content moderation. Unfortunately, it took this decision only after receiving a lot of complaints on child obscenity being endorsed by Tumblr.

So, which genre of content led to Tumblr having a bad reputation? 

The answers to these questions are provided in the following passages.

Why Does Tumblr have a Bad Reputation?

There are many allegations against Tumblr, with ample evidence that its users were uploading child obscenity content and not moderating it.

The fact that it continued even after receiving reports after reports on it, escalated the problem for Tumblr. However, it eventually did ban child obscenity of any kind by subsuming content moderation against it.

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The content moderation it chose for the case was pretty extreme for most users as it banned adult content of any kind. Therefore, it became controversial and a matter of great discussion among the users. 

It even started trending because of the censorship it provided to any adult content specific to female body parts and sparing males from it.

The inference of specific female body parts was published in the privacy policy of Tumblr, and it was heavily criticized.

The resolution provided for adult content was unacceptable for many users as it went beyond child obscenity and censored the adults from publishing adult content for adult viewers, which was unnecessary when put into perspective. This is the primary reason for Tumblr having a bad reputation now.

Why is Tumblr’s ban on adult content a blunder?

Tumblr started with a very progressive outlook on how ideas and various contents should become accessible to readers and help to build a consensus on political, economic, and social issues at many levels gender narratives were one of the most blogged about topics at Tumblr and therefore by default, matters related to sex also became a part of the narrative and images, GIFS, videos having visuals which were sexual, became a representation under the topic. Therefore, having a complete ban on it is not a viable and sustainable solution for Tumblr. Consequently, it is a big blunder.

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In addition, explicitly targeting feminine parts and allowing the images of male body parts to be uploaded as a public post has unintentionally provoked the gender-bias narrative for its users to talk and write about. 

Why should adult content not be banned?

Tumblr is a place of expression for some serious social and political problems, and some images play a critical role in representing the nature of the issue.

Therefore, the ban on adult content can have severe repercussions for every citizen, even when the new policy tries to protect the interest of artists and users who blog about erotica without adding any image to it.

An automated program scrutinizes all posts related to adult content, and it has been flagging content that has minute references of adult content.

It is not identifying actual adult content and is flagging normal pictures containing kisses or blogs of sexual desires.

It has infuriated the users, but that is just a partial example of why adult content should not be banned.

If the issue of the presence of adult content is studied thoroughly, the issue becomes a subject. Therefore, an elaborate explanation will not only be unnecessary for this article, but it will also be futile for only journalists, teachers, and intellectuals can explain it elaborately.

Therefore, an overview of the reasons would be enough to understand why Tumblr should not ban adult content?

The reasons are stated below:

  1. Many artists use tumblr to publish their art, and most of the art they publish has adult content in it; therefore, they become vulnerable to such censorship.
  2. Tumblr became a source for raising the voices of the LGBTQ+ communities, and because their blogs and posts are about sex-related issues, it bears the brunt of the censorship.
  3. Tumblr is anything but a adult website. But, it should be accepted that it became a hub for adult content to be seen by the readers every time they open the application and scroll through the feeds. However, it still represents something more than its associations with adult content. 
  4. Tumblr is a hub for building communities that have common ideas which are progressive, and the primary user base of Tumblr relies on content that are 16+, and Tumblr failed to recognize that. It ignores a user base that brought forth perspectives surrounding gender and sex-related issues. By censoring it, Tumblr has made a big blunder which proliferated its dislike among the users.


Tumblr was criticized because of the presence of absolute p*rn, and when issues were raised, it paid no heed to it with just a tactical change in the privacy policy.

It only took it seriously when Apple took the application out of its app store. After that, it made changes to tackle the adult content culture but in vain until it introduced a ban on adult content directed explicitly to females and other parties bearing the brunt as a by-product of the ban.

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The above description proves one thing very clearly Tumblr has been failing to make a proper assessment of the situation they are in and has always taken a decision as a last resort hastily when more viable and reasonable options were available. It lacked foresight and failed to stand up to its core principles and therefore met with a bad reputation.

Ajit Kumar Yadav
Ajit Kumar Yadav is an analyst interpreting different technologies and keeping track of their events. He understands the business part of technology and construes it from social, political, economic, and cultural lenses.


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