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Yahoo! Censorship The Internet

Yahoo Censors Tumblr Porn 216

Posted by Soulskill
from the some-people-reportedly-surprised dept.
coolnumbr12 writes "When Yahoo purchased Tumblr in May, Tumblr founder David Karp said Tumblr wouldn't be changing, and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said, 'Part of our strategy here is to let Tumblr be Tumblr.' But a new search policy went into effect Thursday that excludes all adult blogs from Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines by disabling indexing of anything it tags as 'adult.' The policy effectively makes the content and 10 percent of Tumblr users completely invisible."
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Yahoo Censors Tumblr Porn

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  • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Friday July 19, 2013 @02:02PM (#44330169)

    Really? Erm, I think we should be given a list so that, you know, we can, err.., check their data-collating algorithms for accuracy. Yeah, that.

  • I'm shocked! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SeaFox (739806) on Friday July 19, 2013 @02:07PM (#44330215)

    "When Yahoo purchased Tumblr in May, Tumblr founder David Karp said Tumblr wouldn't be changing, and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said, 'Part of our strategy here is to let Tumblr be Tumblr.'

    Yeah, and when an independent website gets purchased by a large corporation the executives never lie to the users of a new acquisition to keep them from doing a mass exodus. After all, the users themselves are a part of the deal.

  • and make your own blog. Or use Google blogger. Or any of a thousand different ways. Why is this even news?

    I like pr0n as much as the next guy but a Slashdot groupthink seems to be developing that any entity restricting porn is bad evil censorship. Even if that entity is not government and it's not telling anyone else what to do except on its own site.

    • by Dixie_Flatline (5077) <vincent,jan,goh&gmail,com> on Friday July 19, 2013 @02:24PM (#44330427) Homepage

      Well, first of all, there's the question of who determines whether or not it's 'Adult' or merely 'NSFW', since they're treated differently. Since the barrier for 'adult' appears to be that you post nudity often, there are some non-pornographic photographers that are being caught in the net.

      Secondly, as of right now, #gay is a verbatim search term. This affects not just porn, but posts about LGBT politics.

      Thirdly, lots of artists were migrating to tumblr BECAUSE it was a way to join a network where you could be discovered by fans. Painters and cartoon artists that post pornographic art also can't be found anymore. I know more than one artist that stopped hosting their own portfolio site because it was easier to post on tumblr and provide a DNS redirect. It was a good system, and now the rug has been pulled out from under them.

      This isn't just about hardcore porn; most (all?) of that stuff is discoverable through google, even if it's not packaged up as nicely. There's a lot of fandom and art going on that counts as 'adult' content, and it seems to me that it's being unfairly punished.

      Plus, honestly, it's nice for users like me to be able to follow some of these people and discover new things that I like and have it all mixed in with my goofy fandom gifs and gender politics and whatnot. I LIKE how tumblr works right now. To me, this is just the puritanical nature of North American culture and law rearing its ugly head.

      • I don't mean to be snarky, but do you know what "verbatim" means? Did you intend "verboten", perhaps?

        • Yeah, I was just coming back and reading over the comment and I saw it there and thought to myself, "why did I type verbatim instead of verboten"? :P

      • by lgw (121541)

        Secondly, as of right now, #gay is a verbatim search term. This affects not just porn, but posts about LGBT politics.

        Wait, what? Was that part of this change? That's going to cause a firestorm. Are similar terms banned? Did they really just hang a "straights only" sign on the front door of tumblr?

    • by Lendrick (314723) on Friday July 19, 2013 @02:29PM (#44330497) Homepage Journal

      It's still a dick move, and you know it.

      Some people use their blog as a source of income. That income depends on their blog having an established, searchable presence. Some of those blogs may have the kind of content (like porn) that you or other people may personally look down on.

      "Just make your own blog" is a terrible option when you already *have* an established blog, because it means moving and losing a lot of your traffic.

      I don't see anyone where arguing that what Yahoo is doing should be *illegal*. They're arguing that it's not a good thing to do, and I agree with them. Finally, I fail to see any good reason that they need to do it, since the major search engines all have adult content filtering already. It's unlikely that Google or Bing demanded that they de-index adult oriented blogs.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Solandri (704621)

        Some people use their blog as a source of income. That income depends on their blog having an established, searchable presence.

        Some of my relatives use a booth at a weekly swap meet as a source of income. That income depends on their booth having an established, locatable presence. Yet the swap meet could change their policies and refuse to sell them booth space at any time.

        If you're going to base your livelihood on a business, it's best to put it entirely under your own control. In my relatives' cas

        • by thegarbz (1787294)

          Well that's the risk you took when you decided not to put in the extra effort and money to start with your own blog, and instead took the easy way out and started with a hosted site which took care of most of the setup work for you.

          Wait what? Hosted site? My dear friend tumblr is much more than a hosted site. What you're talking about is effectively the same difference as posting of flickr vs making your own photography website. Or maybe creating a website of your life vs signing up to facebook.

          Tumblr is for the large part also a social network. Users interact, friend, follow, reblog, and comment on each others stuff. You tag posts, tumblr offers a complete search engine for internal posts. This is not something you can replicate with

    • by PhxBlue (562201)

      I like pr0n as much as the next guy but a Slashdot groupthink seems to be developing that any entity restricting porn is bad evil censorship.

      That would be because it is censorship [google.com].

    • by Hatta (162192) on Friday July 19, 2013 @02:38PM (#44330623) Journal

      and make your own blog. Or use Google blogger. Or any of a thousand different ways. Why is this even news?

      If generic blogs were an acceptable substitute for what Tumblr does, they wouldn't have 100 million users.

      I like pr0n as much as the next guy but a Slashdot groupthink seems to be developing that any entity restricting porn is bad evil censorship.

      Why is it good when it's non-governmental? The loss of utility is the same whether it's done by a government or by a corporation. It may be less bad when it's not backed up by force, but it's still a shameful act by Yahoo, and they deserve to be shamed for it.

      • If generic blogs were an acceptable substitute for what Tumblr does, they wouldn't have 100 million users.

        A well-done generic blog is a perfectly acceptable substitute for what Tumblr. It's just that with a well-done generic blog, you have to do the work yourself, and pay a small monthly fee for a hosting service. Tumblr does all the work for you, for free. At least, until the time rolls around where you have to pay for it after all.

    • and make your own blog. Or use Google blogger. Or any of a thousand different ways. Why is this even news?

      Because they didn't come out and say, "Starting in two months we will stop indexing any site that we think is questionable. This will give you time to move your adult material to a new site." Instead they do it without any warning whatsoever. That's a big fuck you to their customers. How many times will this do this kind of thing again in the future?

  • Try to replicate this behavior which was in place before the Yahoo buyout:

    1. Place pornographic term in tumblr's own search engine
    2. Receive lolcats

  • by Seumas (6865) on Friday July 19, 2013 @02:13PM (#44330303)

    Rendering 10% of Tumblr invisible is an improvement and a great start. Please get to work on the other 90%, too.

  • Isn't this the equivalent of buying Slashdot and then censoring "Anonymous Cowards"?

  • When they said "tumblr won't be changing", it's cute how ANYBODY believed them. Acquiring companies always say that. It's always a lie. In this case, most people even predicted it was a lie.

    Don't worry, this is just step one. They'll totally wreck things later.

    • Its not that anyone believed, them, its just fun to post "I told you so" posts.

    • Nah, it's not that we believed it, but it's a deep flaw in how "news" is presented - it's "vertical" - Today's Story is Today's Story, with comments, etc.

      Then X time later when a followup like this one comes along, it takes a bit of work to find the earlier story we knew felt bogus.

      I have no programming skills, so I can't do it, but I've long envisioned to have a "horizontal" news site where some original story goes on the left, in this case the news is specifically the portion of the sale news where the Ya

  • Karp on Colbert (Score:5, Informative)

    by reve_etrange (2377702) on Friday July 19, 2013 @02:31PM (#44330523)
    David Karp insisted they weren't going to try and censor the adult blogs, while appearing on the Colbert Report just three days ago.
    • came here to say this as well. He just said that they would keep it pure when asked exactly this question! Hopefully colbert calls him out next week, or today.

    • Welcome to corporate weasel speak. He can claim he hasn't censored anything. It's all still there, right?

    • David has spoken several times about his vision for Tumblr, and censorship isn't part of it. I find it mind-boggling that Yahoo would spend over a billion dollars in an effort to make it seem like a hip and cool company, and immediately fuck it up.

      Also, the kid has a lot of money right now, it wouldn't surprise me to see him leave and start another site more in line with his values. That is precisely what I would do.

  • Here are all these blogs that are tagging themselves NSFW. It doesn't mean they are all porn, it's just that it's more adult themed. I've seen quite a lot of "adult" tumblr blogs that are quite artistic. Instead of univiversally blocking them from search engines... They should innovate and start a robots tag that tags the site or certain sections NSFW. That could be carried through to search engines and "safesearch" options that the user selects. Just as much as I want information to be free...
  • by slashkitty (21637) on Friday July 19, 2013 @03:14PM (#44330989) Homepage
    While 10% of the blogs are estimated to be tagged adult.. It's actually closer to 25% of their traffic. I'm guessing internally they knew that tumblr's adult content was rising faster than the rest of the site, and they certainly don't want it to be primarily adult. It might be better for them long term, but there should be some brushback over this.
  • Despite their explicit promise "not to screw it up", the very first action Yahoo has taken as owner of Tumbler, is to ruin Tumblr. Major bummer! Looks like I'm going to have to remove all my - decidedly non-pornographic - content and find a new home for it. Any suggestions /. for a less prudish microblogging site?

    Can someone explain to me why Yahoo is still in business? Do they have actual users/customers??

  • ...as if millions of wankers suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

    Seriously though, Yahoo has a knack for turning acquisitions to shit. Nobody should be surprised here. Expect more "improvements".

  • More at Eros blog (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sara Chan (138144) on Friday July 19, 2013 @04:11PM (#44331665)
    For a good discussion of this, see the following post at Eros blog:
    http://www.erosblog.com/2013/07/19/tumblr-admits-then-denies-hiding-porn/ [erosblog.com]
    Eros reported on this back in May, and here has a good discussion of the evasions and falsehoods from Yahoo!
  • by noldrin (635339) on Friday July 19, 2013 @05:01PM (#44332259)
    Not surprising, this is the same thing they did after they bought egroups back in 2000, they waited a few months, then made the adult groups disappear from the listings and search.

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