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Tumblr to crack down on hate speech and violence

Updated community guidelines take a direct approach.

Tumblr blocked by Indonesian Government
Tumblr has tweaked its community guidelines.
NurPhoto/Getty Images

Tumblr's updated community guidelines are targeting hate speech, violence and unwanted sexualization.

On Monday, the social networking site posted details about the update, which goes into effect Sept. 10. Tumblr noted that the section on hate speech removes this paragraph: "If you encounter negative speech that doesn't rise to the level of violence or threats of violence, we encourage you to dismantle negative speech through argument rather than censorship. That said, if you encounter anything especially heinous, tell us about it."

The site has decided that a post no longer must be "especially heinous" to merit reporting.


Tumblr is adding hate speech under its options for reporting posts.


Tumblr also banned posts that glorify acts of violence and their perpetrators to avoid inspiring "copycat violence." The site specifically noted the mass shootings at Columbine High School, Sandy Hook Elementary School and Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, as examples.

The third change is an additional line in its section on harassment: "Don't engage in the unwanted sexualization or sexual harassment of others."

This line relates to the invention of deepfakes -- AI-generated-based videos that place one person's face onto the body of another. Reddit cracked down on deepfake pornography earlier this year.

Tumblr urged people to report violations of the new community guidelines, noting that it's adding hate speech reporting to its app.

"Just tap the airplane icon on any post to open this menu — then tap Report (flag button) > Something else > Hate speech," it wrote.

Tumblr also said it's increased the number of workers dedicated to reviewing such reports. The company didn't immediately respond to a request for further comment.

Tumblr's approach echoes that of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who noted earlier this month that his site doesn't proactively police itself. Like many social media sites, Twitter relies on users to point out bad behavior, a reactive approach that's been called into question in the wake of a series of bans against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

Facebook banned Jones earlier this month, following Apple's and Spotify's removal of his podcasts.

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