Tumblr’s algorithms flagged its own announcement as explicit/adult
NOTE: For all latest, breaking news related to Tumblr adult content ban as well as its alternatives, head here.
Update (December 09):
We have stumbled upon two more platforms – Explicitr and Suffra – that are also pitching themselves as Tumblr alternatives. More info on them here.
Update (October 08):
Owl pics? Here’s how Tumblr censor bots are being fooled.
Update (December 07):
BREAKING: A secret new Tumblr alternative might be in offering. Yes, screenshots detailing some features of the new platform have been shared by someone who says they received them from an “anonymous source”. For details, head here.
Update (October 06):
Want to move Tumblr blog to another platform? Here’s how to export data.
Update (December 05):
Tumblr users are planning a 24 hour ‘log off’ protest against the company’s recently announced porn ban, but will it help? Read our latest coverage by heading here.
Update (December 05):
An uproar of sorts has broken out on social media over the use of the term “female-presenting nipples” in Tumblr’s official ‘adult content ban’ announcement. We bring you a potential reason behind the use of this term. Details here.
Update (December 04):
Tumblr’s blanket ban on adult content: Here are some of the hilarious memes we found.
Original story follows:
Tumblr made a big announcement earlier today, one that says the company will ban almost all adult/explicit/NSFW content on its platform. This change will come into affect starting December 17.
The company has already started flagging posts/blogs that its software algorithms find violating Tumblr’s new community guidelines. While using software for such a major change isn’t surprising, what it has been actually doing doesn’t paint a pretty picture.
We have already highlighted that blogs/posts that are completely unrelated to the kind of content Tumblr is going after are being flagged as explicit. Once again, take a look:
A fully clothed woman. Flagged by tumblr as explicit. pic.twitter.com/MvwaZbyEuT
— Ray-Norr (@raynorrofficial) December 3, 2018
Look at all the explicit sex and nudity in these dragons and dinosaurs I drew. @tumblr your tech is terrible at this. So many of my illustrations are flagged, even ones that have appeared in actual children’s books nationwide. pic.twitter.com/Czd2jBBozI
— RJ Palmer (@arvalis) December 3, 2018
Oooh I def got some ‘explicit’ images on Tumblr! Check out the filth ;D pic.twitter.com/EnKTb8IkyX
— Trudi Castle (@trudicastle) December 3, 2018
Guess we’re posting our flagged tumblr stuff now lol pic.twitter.com/RvPMo9Sw8u
— Ru Xu 🍛 (@ruemxu) December 3, 2018
And now, what’s coming to light should be embarrassing (yeah, that’s the correct word to use here) for the company. Several users noticed that Tumblr’s official announcement post related to this blanket ban on pornography (or adult content) was also flagged as explicit.
Tumblr unleshed a "Explicit Content" algorithm to clean out "adult content" from the platform. It has now gone rampant and flagged just about everything, including Tumblr's own announcement post.
— Brasten (@BrastenXBL) December 4, 2018
At this point, after seeing their own announcement post for the change get flagged as explicit I don’t think tumblr actually cares anymore
— Gryphon’s Nest (@Gryphontheright) December 4, 2018
Tumblr's new flagging system is so broken that their announcement post was flagged as explicit.
— Kaz (@kazzaku) December 3, 2018
The following user even shared the screenshot. Take a look:
Also there's nothing explicit about that blog and tumblr is fucking choking on itself. The announcement about removing porn was also flagged as explicit. pic.twitter.com/MID0lYnte3
— Mistletoe & Hailey 🦌🎄 (@SadistHailey) December 4, 2018
Well, to put it mildly, this is a bad start to what is seemingly a herculean task that’s already not going down well with a very large section of Tumblr’s user base.
From searching for alternatives to launching a petition campaign against this move, affected users are doing whatever they feel is correct for them. But innocent blogs/posts being affected is the last thing you’d want to hear.
Sadly though, that’s what is happening, and worse, Tumblr says that’s expected. Here’s what their announcement says:
Computers are better than humans at scaling process—and we need them for that—but they’re not as good at making nuanced, contextual decisions. This is an evolving process for all of us, and we’re committed to getting this right
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