The American social networking and microblogging platform, Tumblr has made changes to its app in order to block more than 400 search terms, including “antisemitism,” “racism” and “xenophobia”, in a move intended to reduce the risk of Apple banning it from the App Store.
Although some of the banned terms are designed to block access to pornography, Tumblr has stated that other terms relating to “potentially sensitive content” were banned so that the platform could “remain available within Apple’s App Store.”
In order to comply with Apple’s guideline, Tumblr said that it was “having to extend the definition of what sensitive content is as well as the way you access it.”
In 2018, the platform changed its community guidelines to explicitly ban hate speech.
In a blog post at the time, Tumblr stated that it was incumbent “on all of us to create a safe, constructive, and empowering environment.”
Tumblr said that to achieve this, its community guidelines needed “to reflect the reality of the internet and social media today,” as the internet was “being exploited by hate groups.”
Following the 2018 changes, users were able to report hate speech directly in the mobile app. Those guidelines were used to remove antisemitic, anti-Muslim, and anti-LGBT content.
The platform notes that under the new changes, users may see fewer results when searching for certain terms or phrases “that fall under the expanded definition of sensitive content,” and that in certain circumstances, a search “may not produce any results at all,” with users seeing a message stating that “content has been hidden.”