Tumblr is dying. Fast.

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As meme historians know, the internet is for porn. This was especially true for Tumblr. A place that was there when the first generation grew up that never lived in a time without the the web being widely available. These kids turned Tumblr into a refuge where queerness, diversity and sexuality where celebrated, not shunned.

Then Tumblr got bought by Yahoo. Then Yahoo got bought by Verizon. And thus the fairy tale ended. In a desperate bid to squeeze more money out of the site, Tumblr’s corporate overlords tried to make it more “family” (read: advertiser) friendly. They banned pictures, gifs and videos containing nudity.

It was a fucking terrible idea for many different reasons. Not only for the users but also for Tumblr. Something everyone but Verizon knew and that becomes painfully obvious now.

The porn ban came into effect in December 2018. One month later Tumblr’s traffic went from 521 million monthly visits to 437 million, according to analytics site SimilarWeb. Another month later, in February, it went further down to 370 million visits. Which means Tumblr lost almost a third of its traffic in less then three months.

And it’s not just the numbers that speak volumes. Ask your friends if they’re still using the site. You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone replying with more than a sigh. In my circle of friends Tumblr is considered dead.

I personally used Tumblr every single day for years to look for material for milkboys, I have about 150 Tumblr blogs in my feed reader but since the big purge in December only a handful of them are left still posting, most others got deleted by Tumblr or are abandoned by people who just don’t see any point in using a site that clearly doesn’t welcome them.

The internet is becoming a more hostile place towards queer people, sex workers and everyone who thinks sex isn’t the devil’s work. It’s going to be crucial that we make our voice heard before other social networks follow Tumblr’s example.

Related reading: How sex censorship killed the internet we love

 

Pillowfort, a Tumblr alternative?

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If you were one of the Tumblr users impacted by the Tumblr porn ban, then chances are you’ve heard of Pillowfort, an up-and-coming Tumblr alternative, at one point or another. The site itself is largely inspired by Tumblr, although it touts several new improvements that make the service stand out compared to Yahoo’s microblogging platform. These include an improved home feed layout, better filtering capabilities, and a lax policy on NSFW content.

While Pillowfort is still in closed beta for the time being, some users already have access to the site and can meet other users, build followings, and join a wide range of communities dedicated to everything from Homestuck to BDSM. If you want to join, here’s what you need to know about how the service works.

Read on…

RIP Tumblr. And fuck you.

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Yesterday was the day. From now on Tumblr will no longer allow “adult” content on its platform. But the microblogging site says it still wants users to think of it as a place to “explore sexuality.” This morning, Tumblr posted a lengthy message explaining its new guidelines, which are now in effect:

A couple of weeks ago we announced an update to our Community Guidelines regarding adult content, and we’ve received a lot of questions and feedback from you. First and foremost, we are sorry that this has not been an easy transition and we know we can do a better job of explaining what we’re doing.

It then went on to clarify that it won’t be “deleting” all adult content. Instead, it will be “hiding” it so only the person running the page to which the content was uploaded can view it. In other words: If you wanna post a racy video of yourself, that’s fine, but nobody except for you will ever be able to see it. Oh, and it can’t be too racy.

Seems completely pointless? Yup. Just like Tumblr as a whole nowadays. Tumblr went on to clarify that any content showing genitals or sexual acts, real or simulated, will no longer be permitted, adding:

Photorealistic imagery or photography–images, videos, or GIFs–with real humans that include exposed genitals or female-presenting (yeah, we know you hate this term) nipples or depict sex acts is not allowed per our guidelines.

Furthermore, Tumblr added that it “has always been home to marginalised communities and always will be”, and that it recognises its “special obligation” to these communities. It also said it doesn’t want to “silence the vital conversations that take place here every day.”

LGBTQ+ conversations, exploration of sexuality and gender, efforts to document the lives and challenges of those in the sex worker industry, and posts with pictures, videos, and GIFs of gender-confirmation surgery are all examples of content that is not only permitted on Tumblr but actively encouraged.

Good joke, Tumblr.

The queer communities harmed by Tumblr’s NSFW content ban

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On Monday, Tumblr announced that it will ban “adult content” from its social network starting December 17. But the ban will penalise the site’s thousands of LGBTQ artists, educators, sex workers and others fans as well.

Tumblr’s move was foreseeable: Last November, Apple briefly removed Tumblr from its App Store. This January, the US congressional Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) will hold websites liable for when users post any content seen as promoting sex work. Eager to avoid prosecution, Tumblr and other sites are purging all sexual content.

An estimated 20% of Tumblr’s current traffic comes from people seeking adult content. So Tumblr’s decision will make the site more advertiser friendly while effectively killing off one-fifth of its user base. Its automated system for detecting adult content is currently flagging pictures of sand dunes, women sitting on desks, wrestlers and other non-explicit content. Thus, it’s hassling far more than just posters of adult content.

While Tumblr may retain its large fandom and social justice communities who use it to connect and share artwork, the ban will harm user who’ve amassed hundreds of thousands of followers through a shared love of erotic art & images celebrating sexuality. Meanwhile the site will still allow posts glorifyig white supremacy. Here are five communities that’ll be most harmed by Tumblr’s adult content ban.

Read on…

Tumblr, that site no one’s using for anything but porn, banned all porn

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Imagine living in a world where kids grow up not being taught that their bodies are something to be ashamed of or that sex is something nasty that will taint you as a person. Or actually being taught how to have sex safely to not get pregnant or STDs or how consent works.

You’ll need quite some imagination for this seeing how the West seems to slide back into the moral mindset of the 19th century lately. Led by American companies who have no problem whatsoever with violence or nazi propaganda on their sites, this new Puritan movement just culminated in one of the biggest social networks banning all NSFW content.

Tumblr, the site that has become a hub for so many communities and artists with adult themes, the site that is used to view porn by a majority of its users, wants to become a “better and more positive” place. Apparently that doesn’t include body or sex positivity. Tumblr did say that they won’t remove artistic nudity in art, paintings and sculptures for example but turns out that statement was not quite true as you can see below:

Two weeks from now, all NSFW content will be removed from Tumblr. The decision comes just weeks after the Tumblr app was removed from Apple’s iTunes store because of problems with Tumblr’s content filter. Apparently Tumblr came to the conclusion that just removing all porn would be easier than fixing their software.

The NSFW bloggers are easily Tumblr’s largest community so this move will be a huge blow to the site. The stock price of Tumblr’s parent company Verizon is in free fall and many users started fleeing the site, migrating to Twitter and other networks just hours after the decision was announced.

Below I’ll list some of the Tumblr bloggers I featured on milkboys and their Twitter accounts so you can keep up with them that way in case they announce where they will set up in the future. For more developments on this follow the milkboys Twitter.

Tumblr Twitter (follow for updates)
Milo @milomauwmauw
Jero @SuperSolidSquid
Josh @milkkore
F0reverUnde4d @F0reverUnde4d
Kahran @skinnykinks
Kirby @tn_kirby
Almosttoast @almosttoasty
Fawnykid @fawnykid
Xag @asoftcreature
Broccolibutts @SlutElf
Autistic Sissy @AutisticSissy

Ronan Parke just came out

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To the surprise of exactly no one Ronan Parke came out as gay in an interview with Attitude. While many people never harboured any doubt about him not being straight the singer and former Britain’s Got Talent finalist never talked about his sexuality in public.

It looks like his former label was not comfortable with the possibility of his orientation alienating teenage girls which they considered to be his target audience.  If that’s the case it would just once again show how disconnected major record labels like Sony are from reality. If anything, a queer heartthrob like Ronan would be even more of an idol for a generation that grew up on Tumblr and fanfiction.net.

“I remember trying to come out to my parents: I was young – I can’t remember how old I was, around 7 or 8 – and I went downstairs to the lounge and stood in front of the TV and got the remote and went ‘Mummy, daddy, I have something to tell you!’ All dramatic [laughs] And they just went ‘Yeah, yeah, we know, you’re gay’, and they just got the remote and unmuted the TV! I was like [dramatic gasp], ‘What?! But they just always knew. And after that, I just never had to [come out] to my friends. But I’ve always identified as a gay man and I’ve always been very proud to say it.”

Read the whole interview over here.

How OnlyFans changed sex work

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“With a G-string and a strobe light, he could make as much as $1,000 on a good night.” Sounds like a line from a bargain-bin paperback at an adult bookstore? It’s actually printed in the New York Times.

The paper took a deep dive into the very profitable (for a select few) world of OnlyFans, the service that lets users subscribe — for a monthly fee in the $10 range — to their favourite thirst traps. In return, subscribers get access to models’ photos and videos. As part of its report, the NYT spoke with Matthew Camp, the go-go dancer turned OnlyFans entrepreneur who’s been doing very well for himself.

“If the four main quadrants of the gay approval matrix were daddy, twink, bear and boy next door, [Camp] seemed to sit smack in the center, not falling neatly into any of those categories but appealing to the potential audiences for each.”

With his broad gay appeal, Camp quickly began receiving offers from adult film companies to appear in scenes. “Having sex for money is appealing,” he said. But $1,000 seemed low for something that would sit on the internet and brand him for life as [and adult film star].

So he turned them down and instead used a PG-13 feed on Instagram to build a following of more than half a million. About a year ago, as the club scene continued its slow death, he moved to Hudson, N.Y., and signed up for OnlyFans. Weeks often went by without him posting a single picture or video. He didn’t show a full penetrative sex clip for the first nine months, yet he still regularly took home more than $10,000 a month.

Camp wagers that his success with the platform comes down to a human desire for intimacy. The irony, of course, is that the intimacy he and other OnlyFans models offer comes fully synthesised. Which isn’t very intimate at all.

“Tumblr was filled with the most extreme sexual experiences you could see and I think a lot of people were turned off by that. It’s not what they’re looking for. They want more intimate experiences. They want a boyfriend experience. They want to fantasize about someone that they want to have sex with and not feel disgusted by it.”

Read the whole NYT piece here…