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Tumblr to Allow Nude Images; 'Sexually Explicit' Ones Still Not OK

Tumblr on smartphone
Piotr Swat/Shutterstock

The blogging site announced updates to its community guidelines and explained why some restrictions will stay in place.

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Blogging site Tumblr will now allow images of nudity, the company announced Tuesday in conjunction with an update to its community guidelines.

"We now welcome a broader range of expression, creativity, and art on Tumblr, including content depicting the human form (yes, that includes the naked human form)," the announcement reads.

The site, however, will continue to prohibit "visual depictions of sexually explicit acts," along with "hate, spam, violent threats, or anything illegal," the company notes.

The decision to allow nudity comes after Tumblr announced in September that it was instituting community labels that let users filter the content they viewed. "It was our first step toward a more open Tumblr," the Tuesday announcement explains.

Tumblr still bans depictions of sex acts because of logistical problems. "Tumblr used to have a policy around porn that was literally 'Go nuts, show nuts. Whatever,'" Matt Mullenweg, CEO of parent company Automattic, explained in a September post. "That was memorable and hilarious, and for many people, Tumblr both hosted and helped with the discovery of a unique type of adult content."

Tumblr, which allows users to post multimedia content to its blogs, previously had been an online resource for many in the porn, LGBTQ, kink, and queer artist communities since its founding in 2007.

In 2018, when Verizon owned Tumblr, it banned much adult content. Now Automattic is opening that up a bit, but allowing certain sexually explicit material runs isn't feasible because credit card companies and app stores won't serve sites that have any content that would be considered pornographic, Mullenweg wrote. He explained that it is also impossible to verify that everyone who sees that content is of legal age and has consented to view it.

"I am personally extremely libertarian in terms of what consenting adults should be able to share, and I agree with 'go nuts, show nuts' in principle, but the casually porn-friendly era of the early internet is currently impossible," the CEO noted at the time.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.