They said/We said: Tumblr bans “thinspo” content

As the internet and social media moves to replace the lock-and-key diary, it seems that nearly every detail of our lives can be put online. And while we’ve grown to accept and embrace it, there are some facets of our lives that might be harmful when shared. Blogging about a new outfit? Sure. Sharing tips on how to self-mutilate? No go. Tumblr, for one, has had enough.  The site is cracking the whip with a new content policy that plans to prohibit inappropriate material.

Tumblr’s staff blog discloses that blogs that “glorify or promote anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders; self-mutilation; or suicide” will be flagged or even banned. This means that the users who promote such content will either have to delete the content or accompany it with a “public service warning that directs readers to helplines.” The rules are yet to be finalized.

With so many blogs and ever-so-clever users, who are bound to find loopholes, how will Tumblr effectively Big Brother the entire site? Well, flagging search words is a start. The site will set public service announcements when words like  “purging” and “thinspo” are searched.

This is definitely a much-needed step in the right direction, but we can’t help but wonder if users will flock to other blogging sites to promote their content. We hope other blogging sites will follow suit to put an end to what may become a vicious circle.


The Washington Post: “Adolescent years are full of growing pains and insecurity and thanks to social media and blogging sites, some teens and tweens are putting their “ugly duckling phase” on display for the whole internet to see and judge.” [Washington Post]

Fashionista: “If Tumblr starts to actively ban this sort of content, readers/posters will find somewhere else to go. And right now that somewhere seems to be Pinterest. The site is hot right now, and Jezebel pointed out that a lot of this content is popping up on the pinning site.” [fashionista]


Paige Dzenis, associate online editor: ‘“I’m sorry, but “they’ll find somewhere else to go” is not a reason for Tumblr to allow pro-eating disorder/self mutilation content. It’s great that they are taking a stand and it’s also totally within their rights to do so. I can only hope that users who find their blogs banned will take a few minutes to think about why they’re drawn to this sickening online community before/if they decide to set up shop somewhere else.”