Sex Workers Fear Tumblr Ban Will Destroy Their Bottom Line
Tumblr, the blogging platform once heralded for its laissez-faire posting policies, is banning adult content. The change spurred jokes about the loss of free porn GIFs and topless selfies, but the site’s devoted user base of sex workers isn’t laughing. They are worried about what the censorship will do to their community—and their bottom line.
Porn stars, cam girls, and other sex workers have long flocked to the social media platform due to its relatively lax policy on nudity and sexual images. Unlike sites like Facebook and Instagram, which prohibit nudity except in highly restricted circumstances, Tumblr opted to simply categorize such content with “sensitive” or “explicit” filters—allowing sex workers to build an audience and market their products with few limitations. As a result, ads for phone sex lines and web-cam services existed side-by-side with street-style photography and hand-scrawled amateur poetry.
No longer. Under a new policy quietly announced Monday, Tumblr will ban all “adult content” from its platform starting next month. That includes photos, videos, or GIFs that show human genitals or “female-presenting nipples,” as well as any content depicting sex acts. Nudity related to art, political speech, or “health-related situations” such as breastfeeding will be exempt, along with written erotica. The ban is set to take effect Dec. 17—which is also the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.
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Author: By Emily.Shugerman@thedailybeast.com (Emily Shugerman)