Target: Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer
Goal: Stop censoring LGBT content on Tumblr
When Yahoo Inc. recently acquired Tumblr for $1.1 billion, the founder of the microblogging service David Karp as well as Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer promised that the site would not change in any significant way. However, in an attempt to censor pornographic content on the blogging platform, Yahoo has broken that promise and in turn silenced many members of the Tumblr community.
The new censoring policy particularly impacts the LGBT community on Tumblr, as the tags #gay, #lesbian, and #bisexual have been added to the list of censored terms that will return no results on the Tumblr iOS app. Yahoo claims that this is because those particular tags return too many pornographic results.
However, what this policy essentially does is make it much harder for members of the LGBT community to use Tumblr. Banning these tags explicitly targets LGBT bloggers. This perpetuates the heterosexist notion that homosexuality is obscene and should be censored. While pornographic content is sometimes found in these tags, they are also a way for LGBT bloggers to categorize and spread posts for advocacy and issue purposes, as well as a way to express their identities.
Banning these tags is a crackdown on LGBT identities. Tell Yahoo to change the policy so it no longer censors #gay, #lesbian, #bisexual, and any other related identity terms. Not only does the policy infringe upon free speech, it stifles the thriving LGBT community of Tumblr and sends a clear message that they are not welcome on the blogging platform.
Dear Marissa Mayer,
The new censorship policies that have been implemented since Yahoo’s purchase of the blogging platform Tumblr unjustly restrict the voices of many members of the Tumblr community. In particular, the LGBT blogging community has been stifled by the ban on the tags #gay, #lesbian, and #bisexual, which are on the list of censored terms that will return no results on the Tumblr iOS app.
By making these individuals invisible, you are limiting their abilities to express their identities. Though the policy is supposedly intended to restrict pornographic content, the broad restrictions also silence posts about advocacy and issue-based organizing and discourse. By labeling the content under these tags as “inappropriate,” you are perpetuating the heterosexist idea that homosexuality is obscene and should be censored. I urge you to reverse this policy and allow LGBT bloggers to communicate freely and express their identities without restrictions.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Scott Beale via Flickr