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Society

Tumblr Blocks Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Search Terms On Apple Mobile App To Filter Porn

| by Asia Smith

The microblogging site Tumblr has blocked #gay, #lesbian, and #bisexual on searches in their app for Apple’s mobile devices.

These tags in particular “are still frequently returning adult content which our entire app was close to being banned for,” said CEO David Karp on a post on Tumblr’s staff blog. 

In 2010, Apple explicitly stated that “apps containing pornographic material” and “user generated content that is frequently pornographic” would be removed from their mobile platform. Karp’s comment suggests that banning the three hashtags was a way for the company to keep in line with Apple’s policies.

Ten percent of Tumblr's 105 million blogs contain adult content, according to Forbes. Tumblr does not take issue with this fact, as Kent stated that “empowering your creative expression is the most important thing in the world for us.” But while this may not be problematic on the site’s desktop version, Apple’s app store policies have shown to be much more strict.

However, critics argue that the block on #gay, #lesbian, and #bisexual curbs a wider discussion of LGBTQ issues unrelated to pornographic material, and marginalizes a large internet community that uses sites like Tumblr for expression and exchange of ideas. In response, Karp explained:

“The solution is more intelligent filtering which our team is working diligently on…in the meantime, you can browse #lgbtq—which is moderated by our community editors—in all of Tumblr’s mobile apps.”

It should be noted that other search terms, including #bi as well as markedly offensive terms for LGBTQ individuals that will not be listed here, are not blocked by the site’s mobile app.

Sources: Forbes, Baltimore Sun