This month I decided to create a new Tumblr account and see for myself what has changed since I left in 2018, shortly before the Great Purge.
One pleasant change is that the onboarding experience now makes use of suggested tags to get you started, so you’re not face with a dashboard that’s bare.
I wasn’t surprised to find that the option to mark your blog as ‘adult’ is gone. But I was surprised, and bemused, to discover that not all the NSFW content is gone — it’s just cleaned up enough to sneak under Tumblr’s radar.
However, it seems that Tumblr is still cracking down on ‘undesirable’ content, and yet again it’s at the behest of Apple’s App Store and a need to keep the official Tumblr app in there. Their latest move is to make various tags — none of which have been declared, although many folks have worked out — disappear from search, along with any posts containing them.
To me, this seems both heavy-handed and a fool’s errand, because I’ve no doubt that this process will play out repeatedly as Apple (and others) find more ‘objectionable’ material and demand it not be allowed to appear in the app.
My decision to close and delete my Tumblr account yesterday was partly motivated by the above, but mainly because I could see myself sliding back into old, bad habits by visiting the site. The temptation to keep scrolling, liking and re-blogging is just too strong. So I leave with a heavy heart, because I was reminded of the good stuff that is still around on Tumblr, but suspect that more and more of it will either depart or be rendered unviewable in the course of time.