LOS ANGELES – In response to Tumblr’s recently announced change in its community guidelines to prohibit the posting of “images, videos, or GIFs that show real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples,” the Free Speech Coalition has issued a statement decrying the loss of the platform to members of the adult industry.
In making the policy change, “Tumblr follows the lead of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and other social media platforms, who over the past few years have meticulously scrubbed their corners of the internet of adult content, sex, and sexuality, in the name of brand protection and child protection,” the FSC said in its statement.
While acknowledging that some in the adult industry won’t shed any tears over the policy change, because Tumblr has come to serve “as a never-ending source of free content, specifically pirated content,” the FSC said it is “concerning that of the major social media platforms, only Twitter and Reddit remain in any way tolerant of adult workers – and there are doubts as to how much longer that will last.”
“As legitimate platforms ban or censor adult content – having initially benefited from traffic that adult content brought them – illegitimate platforms for distribution take their place,” the FSC added in its statement. “The closure of Tumblr only means more piracy, more dispersal of community, and more suffering for adult producers and performers.”
The FSC also noted that due to the size and popularity of major social media platforms, with a ban on adult materials “adult companies are denied a market as effectively as a state-level sex toy ban.”
“As social media companies become more powerful, we must demand recourse, but we also must look beyond our industry and continue to build alliances – with women, with LGBTQ groups, with sex workers and sex educators, with artists – who implicitly understand the devastating effect of this new form of censorship,” the FSC said.
The statement concludes by noting the loss of platforms like Tumblr “isn’t just about business, it’s about the loss of vital communities and education – and organizing.”
“We use these platforms not only to grow our reach, but to communicate with one another, to rally, to drive awareness of issues of sex and sexuality,” the FSC said. “They have become a central source of power. And today, we’re one step closer to losing that as well.”