Tumblr Blocks 'Gay' Search on Mobile Apps

By Michelle Garcia

Originally published on Advocate.com July 23 2013 1:19 PM ET

The team behind microblogging platform Tumblr says that they're working on a solution to fix its filtering abilities, after it was discovered that searches for "gay," "lesbian," "bisexual," "bi," or "transgender" are essentially blocked on versions of the platform on some mobile devices.

Adult content makes up about 10% of Tumblr's blogs, according to Forbes, and more than half of the platform's users access Tumblr through their mobile app. However, Tumblr has enabled filters that block porn search terms on its iOS apps. According to Tumblr, the newly enabled "safe mode" allows users to filter out NSFW content from search pages.

"The reason you see innocent tags like #gay being blocked on certain platforms is that they are still frequently returning adult content which our entire app was close to being banned for," Tumblr CEO David Karp said in a statement Friday. "The solution is more intelligent filtering which our team is working diligently on. We’ll get there soon. In the meantime, you can browse #lgbtq — which is moderated by our community editors — in all of Tumblr’s mobile apps."

The algorithm changed after Yahoo! purchased the site in May. Prior to the sale, Forbes reports, Tumblr removed the "erotica" category from the site, and 12 million spam-like blogs dedicated to adult content.