Whither Tumblr?

Come Monday, December 17, 2019, Verizon, in an attempt to come to the right side of Apple and Google, and the puritanical overlords that govern them, Tumblr will be banning what they call adult content. According to their official definition:

Adult content primarily includes photos, videos, or GIFs that show real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples, and any content—including photos, videos, GIFs and illustrations—that depicts sex acts.

Verizon, under the auspices of their failed social media company Oath, certainly have the right to make whatever changes they want to their site, but as many have pointed out, empirically, their AI and other algorithms are failing at their job, and certainly will not improve, despite the changes they want to implement.

Which of course begs the question, why do they want to change? Verizon is getting severe blowback from Apple. Apple has banned the Tumblr app because of adult content, which Apple apparently does not like since parents are randomly handing access to their children without oversight. They also claim that no one wants to sponsor a site with gross sexuality on prominent display. You can argue this one back and forth. Any online advertising strategies are failing, not only for Oath but for every form of media, just ask the companies that are complaining about ad blockers. At least with their own application (which they cannot install on Apple devices), they can prevent ad blockers, but they lose access to to the Apple ecosystem (after all, Apple users cannot seem to use web browsers) and all those eyeballs.

So, we have come to a crossroad. Verizon is killing yet another social media property they paid big bucks to purchase by merely driving their community away.

So where will the Tumblr folks go? That is a big question. Much like the G+ diaspora, it is clear there is no single place that the communities under fire will land. And this highlights an even more significant issue. With the death of Tumblr, there is now only Zuckerburg’s properties, and Twitter left as substantial players in social media. The rest is cobbled together shadows of the landscape, lacking in one or more features that would make them the next big thing.

Tumblr was a success because it was not afraid to allow anything. But those days are past. The censorship of the Internet is well on the way, to the detriment of us all.

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