Like most platforms, it was only a matter of time. It lasted longer than most.
Tumblr’s decision to ban all NSFW content on December 17th is not simply ludicrous, it’s the last nail in the coffin. Why it feels strangely synonymous with opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, I can’t really say. Perhaps it was simply the last best place, to borrow a phrase. I do know it’s all we had left.
I wonder Tumblr, will you ban hate and bigotry as not safe for work? Will you ban Terry Richardson for his brand of exploitation? Will ban the Kardashians in various states of undress? How about Miley Cyrus?
As of this evening, they have not.
What I do know is that “fine art nude” currently produces no search results, where as “White Power” returns thousands of posts.
Apparently violence and racial propaganda, among other things, are still safe for work.
Will you erase entirely what so many have created? Will you destroy creative work that you consider morally dubious while condoning the voices of intolerance?
Will you return my personal information and browsing history when you inevitably decide to erase my feed?
Marissa Mayer, former CEO of Yahoo, was quoted after acquiring Tumblr “We promise not to screw it up.”
You had one job.
We’ve built these 9 headed hydras. We show up, we create our content, we deliver it for free, we publish, we push, we link, we share. They take it all, and give us the “privilege.” It’s the ultimate case of work on spec. Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, we drive these platforms. But let’s be honest, it’s not about the user, it’s about profitability. It’s about ad revenue. It’s about corporate advertisers being more afraid of sex than they are of racism. This is about app stores. This is about stock price.
This is about censorship. This is about legislating taste.
I’ve discovered, followed, met and interacted with some truly talented individuals on Tumblr. I’ve been exposed to creatives of all types, genres and disciplines that I would have never stumbled upon had it not been for this platform. I’ve shared a great deal of my own work in the process, and found it overwhelmingly fulfilling more often than not.
But it was just a matter of time.
God Speed Tumblr, it was fun while it lasted.