Popular blog site Tumblr has banned searches for #gay #lesbian and #bisexual search tags as part of a crackdown on porn.
Other blogs tagged ‘NSFW’ (not safe for work) are only accessible when ‘safe mode’ is switched off.
Head of Communications at Tumblr clarified yesterday that ‘adult’ tagged blogs can now be tagged ‘NSFW’ in which case they will be searchable by third-party search engines, ZDNet reports.
Tumblr, launched by then 20-year-old David Karp in 2007, was bought by Yahoo! in May this year for $1.1 billion (€835 million) and the later’s CEO Marissa Mayer promised to ‘let Tumblr be Tumblr’.
Long-term Tumblr users see this crackdown on porn as restricting gay self-expression and communication.
‘They [Tumblr] say this is because those tags [#gay, #lesbian, #bisexual] return too much porn. I say it’s because our very existence is seen as obscene, and that this is a crackdown on our very identities,’ said commentator Hermione Stranger on Jezebel’s Groupthink.
‘I’m sick of our sex being the first to be censored, and worried about all the queer kids who live in homophobic homes with homophobic parents but who found some comfort on Tumblr.’
Another commenter Faded Moon pointed out that it doesn’t help blocking porn if #bisexual is blocked but #bi is allowed because ‘that’s pretty much the choice tag for porn’. Faded Moon said ‘Bisexual(ity) were the ones [tags] that are commonly used for advocacy/issue purposes. I’m so pissed about this’.
A lesbian commentator ReasonWeeps2 said she was ‘conflicted’ because ‘”lesbian” porn rarely has women who are actually lesbians or bisexual women. I don’t like our sex being manipulated for the amusement of straight men.’
Karp addressed concerns about the blocking of #gay related search terms in a blog post on Friday.
‘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,’ Karp said.
‘The solution is more intelligent filtering which our team is working diligently on. We’ll get there soon. In the meantime, you can browse #lgbtq – which is moderated by our community editors – in all of Tumblr’s mobile apps.’
Last week UK prime minister David Cameron announced a crackdown on internet pornography, leading to concerns that LGBT news and advocacy websites might also be restricted.