Social media

Tumblr: Porn blogs can stay, but they'll be mostly hidden

July 18, 2013 at 4:13 PM ET

Tumblr
Tumblr
Logged-out users won't be seeing many naughty posts in the Tumblr Dashboard.

Since the moment it was announced that Yahoo would acquire Tumblr, people have been asking "But what will happen to the porn?" Naughty question, sure, but we finally know the answer.

Porn is being allowed to stay hidden under Tumblr's virtual rug, meaning that many adult-oriented blogs are becoming difficult to discover.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer pledged "not to screw it up" when the search giant snagged the rowdy blogging platform last month, but users immediately worried that their fun would quickly be spoiled. Now Tumblr seems to be making attempts to maintain a middle ground — to keep the porn, but to have a clean site, too.

"Tumblr's longstanding policy regarding NSFW content has not changed and emphasizes the importance of free expression," a Tumblr spokesperson tells NBC News. "As addressed in these policies, we are constantly taking measures to ensure our users can avoid this content unless they'd like to see it." One of those measures, which appears to be quite recent, involves how prominently blogs containing nudity, mature, or adult-oriented content are featured.

Valleywag's Sam Biddle was among the first to notice that Tumblr's starting to put porn "where no one can find it." According to a help document about "understanding NSFW and adult blogs" on Tumblr, blogs which focus on adult-oriented content are no longer listed in search results, shown on tag pages, and more.

Following Yahoo's acquisition of Tumblr, adult-oriented content is now split into two distinct groups, mind you: NSFW blogs, which "contain occasional nudity or mature/adult-oriented content," and adult blogs, which "contain substantial nudity or mature/adult-oriented content." Bloggers are encouraged to flag their own blogs accordingly through the Tumblr settings and are cautioned that Tumblr staff may take care of the matter themselves if bloggers fail to do so.

Tumblr chart
Tumblr
A chart breaks down how blogs with adult-oriented content are now being treated on Tumblr.

Posts on blogs flagged as NSFW will not appear in prominent places such as the Dashboards of logged-out users or on tag pages or mobile apps of individuals who do not follow them. Posts on blogs tagged as adult will not appear in the Dashboards of logged-out users, on tag pages or mobile apps of individuals who do not follow them, on the tag pages of users who do follow them, or in Tumblr search results. They will also not be indexed by search engines.

In other words: It will be extremely challenging for anyone to find posts made on "adult" Tumblr blogs which they do not follow or for which they do not know the URL.

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