tumblr, cyberbullying

Tumblr combating cyberbullying, misinformation with new campaign

The site will not be moving satire, but actual fake news.

January 6, 2020
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Tumblr is taking a stand against cyber-bullying and misinformation with a new internet literacy initiative.

The campaign comes ahead of the 2020 election, the company hopes to keep users from spreading wrong information.

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In 2018, the platform banned all adult content from the site after it was removed from Apple’s app store following concerns that child pornography had made its way onto the platform.

The site defines adult content as “photos, videos or GIFs that show real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples, and any content—including photos, videos, GIFs and illustrations—that depicts sex acts.”

“We’ve realized that in order to continue to fulfill our promise and place in culture, especially as it evolves, we must change,” Tumblr CEO Jeff D’Onofrio wrote in a blog post. “Today, we’re taking another step by no longer allowing adult content, including explicit sexual content and nudity (with some exceptions).”

Now, the social media site is aiming to make the platform even safer.

According to The Verge, the campaign consists of six videos, dubbed “World Wide What?,” that talk about different topics such as fake news and cyberbullying. They utilize GIFs, memes, and short texts to cater to the site’s normal audience.

Older users of the platform may find the additions unnecessary, but D’Onofrio says they “didn’t do this to be paternalistic.”

Instead, they want “to offer people more insights into how to handle these situations.”

“We looked at this with an eye toward the Tumblr audience and how we should present this and how it’s culturally relevant to them,” says Tumblr’s director of social impact and public policy, Victoria McCullough. “Doing it in GIFs, in a way that some other platforms have done similar things, will seem more educational. It’s more relevant to our audience.”

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After a spread of information before the 2016 election, the company believes now is the perfect time to roll out the new program.

While their goal is to delete fake content they also have a fear of deleting “real posts.”

“One of the fears that we have is removing real posts,” McCullough says. “We have to be careful so that users feel protected, and help them learn to apply a little bit of skepticism.”

“There are some things that are satire that are meant to poke fun that we don’t remove, but we also have to be super vigilant.”

Along with fake news, the social media site also hopes the initiative will help its users to stop cyberbullying.

“We’re not immune to some of that behavior and we recognize that,” D’Onofrio says. “There’s a lot that goes on that we do see. When it gets very heated, and it gets reported, we have to remove it.”

All videos World Wide What series are available to watch now on Tumblr, and the site will be hosting Q&A sessions in the near future.

What do you think of Tumblr’s new campaign? Let us know in the comments below!

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Written by Alyssa Quiles