Have you recently returned to Tumblr and are out of the loop with what’s changed regarding content restrictions and the disappearance of safe mode?
Tumblr has undergone a complete cultural movement in recent years. Ever since its adult content ban back in late 2018, Tumblr’s identity as a social media platform shifted dramatically. Especially so in terms of what was regarded as its ‘safe mode’ content.
Unfortunately, Tumblr no longer presents its user-base with a dedicated safe mode. Becoming a redundant feature, Tumblr has decided to completely forego it and change the content indexing algorithm as a consequence.
The platform basically removed the need for an added digital layer of protection through their adult content ban. Yet the algorithm is still confusing, and adult content still slips through the cracks, confusing users on a consistent basis.
As such, many unanswered or unexplained curiosities still remain. What is up with the ‘sensitive media’ pop-up page? Why has content been suddenly banned for ‘violating community guidelines’? We aim to clarify everything down below.
Why Did The Adult Content Ban Happen in The First Place?
The short answer – a general loss of identity. The full answer lies in what Tumblr has always marketed itself as in the world of social media. A blogging platform mirroring user interests, promoting engagement through visual interaction.
What actually happened? Tumblr’s modest beginnings in the late 2000s did not prepare it for the internet, in a nutshell. Gradually, it became less about your online persona in the blogosphere and more about highlighting content that couldn’t find a reliable home anywhere else on the internet — softcore adult images.
Because of this, Tumblr gained increasing notoriety. Instead of being seen as a home of artistic images, thought-provoking quotes, or beautiful user creations, it became synonymous with an abundance of stigmatized adult-oriented content. Therefore, in 2018, eleven years after its inception, Tumblr wiped the slate clean, and the content ban was enforced.
How Was Tumblr’s Safe Mode Affected?
Previously, safe mode acted as a digital barrier that made adult content oriented blogs difficult to access to the regular user. If you didn’t have a registered Tumblr account and you didn’t fulfill the mature age requirement, safe mode ensured that you wouldn’t accidentally be exposed to potentially sensitive adult content.
Moreover, even if you satisfied the outlined criteria, and wanted to automatically view the adult content itself, safe mode was turned on by default on every user account. It gave out the following warning before entering a blog that contained NSFW content, and you would have to manually turn it off in your account settings.
Following the adult content ban, safe mode quickly became a redundant feature. The platform-wide content erasure apparently ensured that there weren’t any images, GIFs, or other types of media that needed. Safe mode promptly ceased to exist, yet the adult content did not go down that easily.
Potential Issues and the Tumbex Solution.
The new system does have its pitfalls, and certain bits of content might still be blocked by an intrusive “This Tumblr may contain sensitive media” pop-up screen.
What this does is it essentially leaves the images you want to see in a limbo state, as they are automatically flagged as inappropriate content. Therefore, the problem is simple. Since safe mode no longer exists as a feature, Tumblr itself doesn’t allow you to do much about it. You can’t just turn off the feature through user settings anymore.
Fortunately, there is an external solution you can easily appeal to, and that is the Tumbex website. Tumbex is a cloud archive of all blogs, posts, and other bits of content on Tumblr. Through it, you can easily access the mass of blocked content, without having to deal with an invasive pop-up.
Here’s how to use it:
- Head to tumbex.com.
- In the first search bar, enter the name of the post you would like to find. If Tumbex finds any safe content posts, it will notify you of that but will hide them.
- Select the “safe search” toggle option.
- Update your content preferences and reload the page.
If you’re looking for a particular blog that has been blacklisted:
- Head to tumbex.com.
- Look up the desired blog in the second search bar.
- If the blog hasn’t been taken down, Tumbex will show you the blog without any censorship.
Safe Mode’s Legacy
Tumblr’s content curation has evolved in the post-2018 era.
Filtering, pictured below, is a user setting that allows for specific content curation, all of it imposed by the individual user. It allows you to filter specific tags associated with a set of images or other visual content, or entire content branches that might creep up on your dashboard every now and again.
Thanks to this neat little feature, safe mode’s essence still lingers on the platform – only in an upgraded form. The Tumblr user now holds greater agency in terms of the content that they want to engage with.
The Future of Tumblr
Beyond the obvious immediate impact on the community and the available user content, Tumblr’s decision also raised a few thought-provoking questions. What actually lies in store for the indie social media platform of yore?
In the advent of the Digital Age, Tumblr still suffers from a rather outdated user interface, a strange relationship with its image-processing algorithm, and a multitude of other quirks regarding its technical backdrop. As a social media platform, Tumblr fulfills the role of the relic of a bygone age. But it simultaneously maintains a loyal following that happily carries its reborn identity further.
Tumblr has gone back to its 2007 origins of serving as a digital artistic landscape. The blogs are the canvas, the visual content is the paint, and every user is an artist of their own merit. They can curate, shape, and personalize their field of interest without limitation.
It remains to be seen whether this invigorated identity is set to last, or if the coming years will bring about yet another divisive change in terms of Tumblr’s reputation in the world of social media. If you have any thoughts about your own experiences as a new, returning, or avid user of Tumblr, please don’t hesitate to leave them down below!
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