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Tumblr introduces new censorship techniques on iPhone

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Tumblr, once a social media powerhouse, is apparently not done with its censorship war started some years ago, that many think, along with other less than prudent decisions, contributed to its slow downfall.

The current controversy is discussed on Twitter by iOS app users, who have been noticing that a more strict tag filter is allegedly now being used – unofficially, since those noticing the change have been discovering what’s on that blacklist themselves.

And their discoveries have produced some comical revelations, which are nonetheless hardly rare in the world of “stupid” algorithms passing off as “AI” that have become the go-to moderation technique even for large and relevant social media platforms.

One example of what’s currently going on on Tumblr is that the tag “submission” is now blacklisted – users are offering educated guesses that this might be because of the term’s association with BDSM – but then the very same tag is added by Tumblr to posts submitted to a blog that then goes on to approve them.

That’s apparently Tumblr’s website – but over on the iOS app, all these tags have now been banned. “A lack of communication” between various programmers involved in implementing this newest blacklisting effort is cited as the reason.

Another tag that’s now censored is “satin” – a Twitter user observed that this is “like the satanic panic, but by implemented by people who can’t spell.”

Naturally, somebody had to ask the question: is Tumblr working on deliberately making the platform unusable? And according to Twitter, there are even some who are arguing to disprove this “disinformation.”

Those who took a closer (and less humorous) look at what’s happening with the iOS app say Tumblr may simply be complying with Apple’s new guidelines, introduced on December 21. Giving credence to this theory is the fact that the massive Tumblr censorship drive in 2018 was prompted by Apple and its guidelines.

The list of banned tags, as noted, is hidden – users only find out if they search for them, when they may be greeted with a message reading that the content is hidden for its “potentially suggestive or explicit” nature. This would be logical and reasonable – if the banned tags were as well, Tumblr users say. But, sadly, they don’t appear to be.

For now, all this only applies to the iOS app.

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, join Reclaim The Net.

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