Blogging platform Tumblr, once a powerhouse of content for millennials, has censored a wide swathe of hashtags on its Apple iOS app, in what the social media company says is an effort to remain within the Apple App Store’s community guidelines. Some of the censored terms include “girl,” “suicide prevention,” and “testicular cancer.” According to a list compiled by a Tumblr user, the censorship extends to seemingly-mundane hashtags. Millennials in a Tumblr photobooth (Mat Hayward/Getty) Apple CEO Tim Cook and his V for Victory (Kevin Dietsch/Getty) Via the Verge: Another Tumblr user, aptly named “bannedtags,” has been keeping track of all the blocked tags in a Google Doc.
The user notes that most of these tags have been banned on iOS —not on all devices — and that the listed tags are subject to change. Some banned tags are blatantly related to sexual, violent, or harmful content, but others don’t seem to belong on the list, and may actually do more harm than good by staying on it. For example, “girl,” “sad,” and oddly enough, “Alec Lightwood,” an actor from the show Shadowhunters, has been banned (because even Tumblr can’t handle those eyes). “Single dad,” “single mom,” “single parent,” “suicide prevention,” and “testicular cancer” are also on the list, potentially harming those who want to seek support in any of these areas. To make things even weirder, Tumblr blacklisted some tags that basically function as unspoken social cues on the site. “Me” and “my face” are blocked, both of which are tags that bloggers use to label their selfies (oh, and did I forget to mention that “selfie” is banned, too?).
The platform appears to have blocked “queue” as well, a tag that’s typically applied to posts that were placed in a queue and serves as a signal to followers that they may not be online at the moment. Apple and Google, which control approximately 99 percent of the market share in operating systems for mobile devices worldwide, operate an effective duopoly on access to smartphones. While it is possible to install apps on Android devices without going through the Google Play Store, it is not possible to install apps on iOS devices without going through the App Store, meaning that a ban from the App Store means total loss of access to the market of iOS users. Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.
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