Editor’s note: This story is already out of date. It was written yesterday afternoon (17 December). However, by the time it was published, events had already moved beyond it. Specifically, Verizon has admitted that its purchase of Tumblr and AOL was largely a mistake. In fact, it has said that its content creation subsidiary, Oath, which contains both Tumblr and AOL, is worthless. How this will effect Tumblr is not yet known.
A quick update on the current purge of “adult” material on Tumblr.
Yesterday, Tumblr “clarified” its plans on adult material. It announced that such material would not be deleted, but simply made invisible. By that afternoon, the change was underway. Visitors to adult-oriented sites were likely confronted with patchworks in which some images were hidden while others (often just as erotic) were mysteriously left in plain view, as for example:
Or, just as likely, entire blogs would be identified as adult, and consequently hidden, as in:
The question, of course, is what happens now. Users are already fleeing Tumblr in search of less regulated spaces on the digital frontier. That could hurt the company rather badly. But it isn’t certain that Tumblr’s owner, Yahoo, which is in turn owned by Oath Inc., which is in turn owned by Verizon, cares about Tumblr’s well-being–just as it isn’t clear that the Tumblr/Oath/Verizon link up makes much sense.
Indeed, also yesterday, (December 17), Verizon announced that it was cutting back Oath’s workforce by ten percent. According to NBC, this means over a thousand jobs will be lost.