Image: Tumblr

After Tumblr mysteriously disappeared from Apple’s App Store last month, it appears it has returned. The re-emergence of Tumblr’s app on the platform this week follows its controversial and maligned ban on adult content, which the company said would begin taking effect on December 17.

Following its initial disappearance, some speculated that Tumblr had been made unavailable in the App Store as the result of child pornography on its platform. Those rumors were confirmed in late November after the company said in an update on its help page that a routine audit had uncovered images related to child sexual abuse. Two weeks later, the company announced its Community Guidelines had been updated to reflect Tumblr’s forthcoming site-wide ban on “images, videos, or GIFs that show real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples.” Tumblr CEO Jeff D’Onofrio characterized the decision as a move toward a “better, more positive Tumblr.”

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“We spent considerable time weighing the pros and cons of expression in the community that includes adult content. In doing so, it became clear that without this content we have the opportunity to create a place where more people feel comfortable expressing themselves,” D’Onofrio said in a statement on the company’s blog. “Bottom line: There are no shortage of sites on the internet that feature adult content. We will leave it to them and focus our efforts on creating the most welcoming environment possible for our community.”

Since Tumblr announced its apparent war on porn, many have pointed to the communities and people affected by the erasure of its adult content, chief among them sex workers and other marginalized groups who have found a safe haven on the largely inclusive, sex-positive platform. Activist and sex worker Liara Roux told Gizmodo last week that the site had “been a place where people who are sex workers or people in the queer community especially have been able to build spaces where they can like cultivate these very niche communities and promote their work.”

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D’Onofrio said the company would rely on both automated tools as well as human moderators to filter adult content, an undertaking that is already proving charitably problematic. As just one example, a user who shared an image of a human finger on a post about hand and wrist braces for people with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome was flagged for explicit content. There are plenty more indicators, however, that Tumblr has a bumpy road ahead of it.

Neither Apple nor Tumblr returned requests for comment about the app’s return to the App Store, but we’ll update this post if we hear back. In the meantime, enjoy what’s left of the Tumblr we know and love for the little time we still have it.

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[The Verge]