Tumblr now has new guidelines for handling adult content and new reports reveal that Tumblr is making adult sites (10% of the network) essentially invisible. At first glance, these moves appear to be an extension of the existing NSFW tagging system that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer openly praised. Blogs that feature adult content are now tagged “NSFW” or “adult.” According to Tumblr’s guidelines, NSFW blogs “contain occasional nudity or mature/adult-oriented content” while adult blogs “contain substantial nudity or mature/adult-oriented content.” Interestingly, NSFW blogs are only mildly affected by the changes (they no longer appear in logged-out dashboards, or in tag pages or mobile apps for users who aren’t following you), adult blogs, on the other hand, are virtually disappeared from the network and unsearchable by Google Bing, and other search engines.
This change is far from surprising. If anything, it’s just a continuation of Tumblr’s ghettoization of adult content that began the day the company removed erotica from its official directory listing. And really, given the extremely hardcore nature of much of Tumblr’s content, and the associated legal issues that come with that content, it’s not that surprising to see this kind of crackdown. But buried in the discussion of this announcement is one key detail that hasn’t gotten much discussion: Whose content, exactly, is deemed NSFW, and who is deemed adult?