A better, more positive Tumblr




Tumblr is a porn website.

It is a social media experience built on the backs of porn and sex work.

The reason tumblr got to be as big as it did in the 2007-2012 foundational period, was the porn. The reason it has the broad userbase it does today is because of the porn.

Tumblr was, and still is, famous for its porn.

Rumor has it that this ban is coming because Yahoo is losing money.
Do you know how much of a fucking moron you have to be, to lose money on a porn site?

Pretty. Goddamn. Stupid.

But whatever. If they want to turn tumblr into a children’s website, then they are welcome to. It’s their property. Let them continue to hemorrhage cash until the site burns to ash.

Just remember: this website was built on the backs sex workers.

Now, we’re being thrown off because somehow, some way, Yahoo is the only company on the entire internet that cannot sell sex.

We’ll bounce back. We always have.

We’ll also lose a lot of people to poverty and violence in the interim. We always have.

Adult content gets banned on the 17th.

Hypothetically, that’s just a ban on explicit sex.

Practically, that’s a ban on blogs such as mine, which include sex ed content.

It’s going to, inevitably, be a ban on any sexual content, including but not limited to sexuality. That’s how this story always, inevitably, goes. And tumblr has already proven it cannot separate “queer” from “sex” a great many times.

I’ll be leaving, whether by choice or by ban.

I am zenolalia on dreamwidth, and xenolalia on pillowfort.

Until then, I suppose, let’s all party like it’s not the fucking 17th.

I think this post has a few misconceptions. 

While it is overall true things like “Yahoo is the only company on the entire internet that cannot sell sex.” are a fundamentally flawed mindset.

Ad companies (especially the ones that spend lots of money) require safeguards that their ads won’t be presented beside content then don’t want. This is why you saw Youtube loose millions in advertising revenue because companies started pulling ads due to their ads being placed over things they don’t want their company associated with.

But let’s get into the real reason Tumblr is banning porn. Apple. Being pulled from the app store in this day and age is similar to your website being blacklisted from Google. That can destroy your company. I have seen websites with massive traffic go belly-up within months due to being banned from Google.

“But they can just age gate it”. Yes and no. Them being pulled from the app store revealed a big issue no one wants to talk about. Technology to catch CP being uploaded is not close to perfect. Not even a little bit.

FB. IG. Youtube etc. People getting upset that you get booted for almost any nudity in posts is a result of methods to stop CP from going up. Right now in tech to keep ppl safe from it you have to be heavy-handed, but that also means your user base gets pissed off at you. If you are not heavy handed things slip through the cracks.

I don’t know what the future of Tumblr is. It is extremely shitty for sex workers on here that use Tumblr to promote their content.

As a developer, honestly, I don’t know the solution to fix allowing porn while making sure nothing bad ends up on the site.

Tumblr has 400 employees. I feel like people don’t realize this. For comparison? 

Facebook has 30,000.

You are trying your best to be respectful. I will return the favor. However, I think you and I are going to be coming to some different and irreconcilable conclusions.

First, I want to establish something. I am a “tech professional,” too. I’m aware on an expert level of the issues tumblr has with under staffing.

I’m also aware of the issues it has with security, content ID, abuse management, filtering, hosting, traffic management, etc.

Tumblr has 400 employees by choice. Tumblr overworks those employees by choice.

If the upper management were willing to create a less toxic work environment, and to engage in anything even vaguely resembling best practices for applying site-wide backend and UI updates, then the individual employee would be able to better handle their demands. Further, they can and more importantly should be hiring about triple the staff they currently have, even in that ideal system. In the current one, I would wager something closer to 4-5,000 is necessary to deal with all the self-inflicted issues.

But to create such an ideal 1,000 employee, functioning system would require competent management, which tumblr lacks. As evidenced, in fact, by this recent policy decision.

Tumblr’s staff create their own problems. The recent child pornography issue, for example, is something that has been well known for years. I’ve filed multiple reports with tumblr and with the FBI over it myself. However, the upper management refused to adequately sort and prioritize reports.

By slamming “fictional character” reports, “self harm” reports, “illegal activity” reports, “terrorism” reports, “spam” reports, and “abuse of children” reports into the same fucking stream, they created in inescapable backlog that ultimately puts high priority reports below low priority ones.

This led them to adopt hugely ineffective, fucked up attempts at automation. Ones that are so notoriously terrible that they only ban the stuff that isn’t trying to hide- which is to say, the stuff that is ALLOWED to be here.

They did that to themselves. And they are being reasonably punished for it by being blacklisted until they solve the problem.

They are not solving the problem.

They are making vague efforts that sound pretty alright to people who don’t know a single thing about operating a large scale service platform with ad revenue aspects. Which is impressively foolish, given that Apple, whom they are trying to appease, knows full well about running a large scale service platform with advertising revenue aspects. They may fool their user base, but tumblr isn’t going to fool apple with this little stunt.

That’s how we know that this is not where the content removal ends.

Tumblr also insists on being as unclear as possible in its terms of service. Ignoring the fac thtat that’s bad fucking practice too, the sloppy bastards, let’s look at how that apparently intentional vagueness interacts with their shit-upon-shit excuse for content ID, report management and filtration. 

Because of that vagueness, the automated system they are trying- poorly- to rely upon for content ID creates a second entirely separate backlog of user complaints and appeals due to improper banning.

This is another completely unnecessary problem tumblr has created for itself, that also has to be handled, by an over-extended staff.

Just another way tumblr created its own problems and is suffering for it.

Given the “solution” they’ve crafted for the first problem, the thematically similar solution for the second will, inevitably, be bans without appeal. We’ll come back to this.

Combined with their, again, extremely faulty automated system, that’s a recipe for a dramatic loss in user base.

Itself a recipe for a dramatic loss in revenue.

Rather than hiring more staff, engaging in halfway decent management and tech practices, and actually making some fucking profit, Tumblr seems absolutely deadset on making the website meet the capacity of the 400 heavily exploited workers.

And that means reducing its traffic, reports, and general workload by about 85%.

Given that they’ve created another system that, inevitably, will lead to more work not less, and still show no indications of increased hiring or improved management, the only way to achieve those cuts is by cutting the user base.

Remember the bans without appeal I mentioned? What an eerily efficient way to cut their user base.

That’s where, inevitably, this style of management leads.

But, allow me to set aside the labor and technical aspects of this decision, and return to the thesis of my original post.

Tumblr was built by sex work.

The foundation of this website, the system which allowed it to flourish, the “user generated content” that it sold, became famed for, and baked into the genetics of the site, is sex work.

It’s not just “shitty” to throw us out now. It’s not even just exploitative.

It’s fucking suicidal.

Even without all of the other issues, which I hope I have at least presented coherently above, the fact of the matter is that tumblr is a porn site.

It may well be the classiest and most social porn site on the internet, but that’s what it is. To make a dramatic change in policy like this, without actually doing anything to ease the transition is bad business, bad service, and just plain bad.

A better, more positive Tumblr