As you will recall, we’ve been covering Tumblr’s recent (and unfortunate) decision to ban all “adult” material from its service. We’re appalled because it is pure censorship, and we were stunned that anyone at Tumblr would let it happen.
However, we’ve learned that Tumblr has been going downhill for quite some time, now. Bonnie Kristian, writing in The Week, notes that the company has been slowly backing away from its users for years–and she should know. She’s run her own Tumblr blogs since 2009.
Originally, she says, Tumblr seemed genuinely committed to giving its users the best blogging platform possible, and to making it easy for bloggers with similar interests to find each other. At first the company used a directory of interests, and “tags,” to alert users to each other’s sites, and then later employed a system of “hand curated” connections by which Tumblr employees would help to develop unique communities.
But, then, that all went away. Says Kristian, “That’s all gone now. There’s no more directory or curated tags. There’s no center to the politics community at all. Well-intended functionality changes have made in-depth conversation and debate more difficult. Nearly all the well-known political bloggers have deactivated or abandoned their accounts.”
Why did Tumblr suddenly stop providing community-building support? No one knows…at least no one who’s talking. But it may be significant that Tumblr is now owned by Yahoo, which is in turn owned by something called “Oath,” which is in turn owned by Verizon. It may be that Verizon doesn’t have much to gain from having unique communities on its sites, and something to lose if it is selling advertising to people and organization which object to those unique communities.
And thus both porn and politics would be drawbacks in the eyes of the MBAs who rule things in America.