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Tumblr Restores Indexing of Adult Blogs

| July 22, 2013
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Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer speaks at a WIRED business conference on May 7, 2013 in New York. (Brad Barket/Getty Images for WIRED)

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer speaks at a WIRED business conference on May 7, 2013 in New York. (Brad Barket/Getty Images for WIRED)

Tumblr has backtracked on its decision to cloak adult content from indexing by major search engines, as well as its own internal search. The site had separated the blogs with adult content from those tagged “NSFW,” essentially making the adult sites unfindable.

From ZDNet last night:

Within 24 hours Tumblr has quietly returned the blogs back to internal and external search, and folded its “Adult” blogs into the wider “NSFW” category. When reached for a statement, Tumblr’s head of communications told ZDNet,

“The two options (“NSFW” and “Adult”) were clearly causing confusion, so we’ve dropped the extra option. If your blog contains anything too sexy for the average workplace, simply check ‘Flag this blog as NSFW’ so people in Safe Mode can avoid it. Your blog will still be indexed by third-party search engines.”

You can read Tumblr’s latest policy on adult content here.

Last week, Tumblr asked bloggers to voluntarily flag their own blogs if they contain such material, but made it clear that they “may be flagged automatically” if they don’t. The blocking, it appeared, had been in place for some time. Not surprisingly, the newly announced restrictions generated an active debate on Twitter.

Tumblr founder David Karp explained some unintended consequences of the new filtering policy in a blog post on Friday, saying that some “innocent tags like #gay” were being blocked on some mobile platforms because “they are still frequently returning adult content … The solution is more intelligent filtering which our team is working diligently on. We’ll get there soon.”

Yahoo bought Tumblr in May, and in an analyst call after the acquisition, Yahoo President and CEO Marissa Mayer said one of her priorities would be figuring out how to monetize Tumblr content through advertising. She also promised not to “screw up” the company, saying it would be allowed to continuing operating as a separate operation.

As of this weekend, Tumblr claimed that it currently hosts over 125 million blogs.

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