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going PG-13
December 3, 2018

Tumblr is planning a massive and controversial purge of content.

The blogging platform announced Monday that adult content will no longer be allowed starting on December 17th. This will include any photos, videos, GIFs, or illustrations that "show real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples" or that "depict sex acts." There will be a handful of exceptions, though. For example, breasts can be shown in a medical context, and nudity related to "political or newsworthy speech" or found in art can be posted. Erotica will also remain permitted.

This move comes after Tumblr was banned from Apple's App Store in response to child pornography found on the site, having slipped past its content filters, reports The Verge. The app was removed on Nov. 16 and has still not returned. Tumblr did not cite this controversy in its Monday announcement, but it seems likely that the two are connected.

The decision to ban all adult content was widely criticized Monday, with The Verge reporter Julia Alexander writing that Tumblr is "going to destroy a big part of what makes its site accessible to people coming to terms with their sexuality" and that it was a "super rare, accessible mainstream platform for that." Writer Kate Leth called the move "stupid" and "backwards," while writer Roxane Gay noted, "Adult content is the only reason I use Tumblr." That sentiment was a common one Monday; TechCrunch editor-in-chief Matthew Panzarino concluded, "Eliminating porn from Tumblr is basically shutting down Tumblr." Brendan Morrow

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