Thursday, January 27, 2022

Tumblr goes overboard censoring tags on iOS to comply with Apple’s guidelines

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An replace to Tumblr’s iOS app censors a protracted checklist of tags to comply with Apple’s strict security guidelines. The platform explains that it’s altering iOS customers’ capability to entry delicate content material, affecting their expertise when it comes to trying to find content material, scrolling via the “Stuff for You” and “Following” sections of the dashboard, and will even stop entry to blogs which can be flagged. Tumblr says it has to “extend the definition of what sensitive content is” to “remain available within Apple’s App Store,” and it appears that evidently Tumblr stretched it fairly far.

Tags are what make posts searchable on Tumblr; posts with censored tags gained’t seem on a customers’ dashboard, nor will they present up on the platform’s search web page. A Twitter thread introduced consideration to a number of the absurd tags that ended up getting filtered out on iOS, together with the tag “submission.”

The attention-grabbing half, although, is that Tumblr applies that tag routinely when a publish is submitted after which revealed to a weblog on the platform. Users on iOS who obtain a submission to their weblog gained’t even have the option to view it because the “submission” tag is already added, as proven in a publish by one Tumblr person.

Another Tumblr person, aptly named “bannedtags,” has been maintaining observe of all of the blocked tags in a Google Doc. The person notes that almost all of those tags have been banned on iOS —not on all units — and that the listed tags are topic to change. Some banned tags are blatantly associated to sexual, violent, or dangerous content material, however others don’t appear to belong on the checklist, and may very well do extra hurt than good by staying on it.

For instance, “girl,” “sad,” and oddly sufficient, “Alec Lightwood,” an actor from the present Shadowhunters, has been banned (as a result of even Tumblr can’t deal with these eyes). “Single dad,” “single mom,” “single parent,” “suicide prevention,” and “testicular cancer” are additionally on the checklist, probably harming those that need to search assist in any of those areas.

To make issues even weirder, Tumblr blacklisted some tags that mainly perform as unstated social cues on the positioning. “Me” and “my face” are blocked, each of that are tags that bloggers use to label their selfies (oh, and did I overlook to point out that “selfie” is banned, too?). The platform seems to have blocked “queue” as effectively, a tag that’s sometimes utilized to posts that have been positioned in a queue and serves as a sign to followers that they might not be on-line in the meanwhile.

Tumblr began having points with Apple in 2018 when its app was unexpectedly faraway from the App Store after youngster pornography was discovered on the platform. As a end result, Tumblr banned grownup content material altogether, a significant shift from the platform’s beforehand laissez-faire insurance policies on NSFW posts. When Tumblr first applied the change, harmless posts have been continuously flagged for express content material, and it looks as if we’re seeing historical past repeat itself, however differently.

Tumblr says it’s working on “additional features for a less restricted iOS app experience,” however there’s no data on when or how this might be applied. Users on Android or on the browser-based model of the positioning stay unaffected by this modification. It stays unclear why Tumblr banned so many tags or if Apple was concerned in any approach. The Verge reached out to Apple with a request for remark however didn’t instantly hear again.

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