advertisement
advertisement
advertisement

Tumblr’s adult flagging tech is not working very well unless you think Sesame Street is NSFW

Tumblr’s adult flagging tech is not working very well unless you think Sesame Street is NSFW
[Image: ZyMOS/Wikimedia Commons]

The countdown to Tumblr’s porn ban is on, and its adult content filter is working great—that is, if you want to protect innocent children from bowls of fruit, Sesame Street, and men without socks.

advertisement

Tumblr’s decision to ban adult content on the previously free-range site came in the wake of Apple’s understandable decision to remove Tumblr’s app from the App Store over the presence of child pornography. Tumblr decided that the best way to prevent that from ever happening again was to abruptly announce that it will ban NSFW and adult-oriented content from the platform by December 17.

As the deadline approaches, Tumblr’s flagging-and-filtering technology is already working overtime, flagging all sorts of “explicit” content like this image of a bowl of fruit with teeth, as Hyperallergic pointed out. The image may be NSFL, but it’s just about as SFW as a bowl of fruit with teeth can be. Twitter is full of other examples of Tumblr’s overactive flagging system marking posts as explicit when any human can see that they are not, including this still from the children’s show, Sesame Street.

The Tumblr community is already fairly ticked off at the company’s sudden about-face on adult content, and some users are working to save such content from oblivion. It’s unclear if Tumblr will adjust its strategy in the wake of these stories about its puritanical auto-detecting algorithm.

We reached out to Tumblr and will update if we hear back.

For his part, Tumblr CEO Jeff D’Onofrio wrote in a blog post, that it knows “there will be mistakes” in the automated flagging system, but that Tumblr is “relying on automated tools to identify adult content and humans to help train and keep our systems in check.” While the system is tinkered with, though, it’s up to all users to remember that fluffy dogs have no place on the new Tumblr.

advertisement
advertisement