This month the most popular unfiltered social media site Tumblr has banned porn, nudity and any other sexual content starting December 17th 2018.
Of course sites have every right to ban whatever they want, I’m not that upset about the ban itself, although it likely means I’ll be off the platform in the future.
I maintained a couple of pages on tumblr including Rachel Spahr’s modeling portfolio mentioned in Something’s In The Air, a few of the pics have already flagged for nudity.
Even though the nudity doesn’t involve actual human nudity, the new Tumblr Community Guidelines now include this line: —this includes content that is so photorealistic that it could be mistaken for featuring real-life humans (nice try, though).
The thing that upsets me is how this came about. Despite there always rules against it, the site was used by criminals to share very illegal child porn. Tumblr shut it down as soon as it was reported, but the incident caused Apple to remove Tumblr’s app from their app store. That was enough to trigger the ban.
In other words, one company forced another to change its rules. That to me is a bad sign for the future of the internet. No it is not the first time something like this has happened, but it is the biggest case I can remember, and likely to be the first of many.
Corporations influence on the internet
Tumblr is not some indie site. It was when it began, but then they sold out to Yahoo, who in turn sold out to AOL, who in turn sold out to Verizon. Such is the nature of the internet right now.
My last post on the status of the internet was primarily about government policies negative effects on the internet, but the status of the internet is also heavily affected by corporate interests.
Websites need advertisers to generate revenue, and advertisers are getting picky about the websites they are willing to advertise on. One of the biggest losers of this is You Tube. Once a great place for smart and talented people to make money, it is not that way anymore. One such star Comic Book Girl 19 breaks it down like this:
Corporations don’t like to advertise on controversial parts of the internet. The good news is that far right wing websites are losing a lot of money as advertisers pull away. The bad news is that LGBT friendly websites like You Tube and Tumblr are forced to become less friendly to that community as well.
Targeted Advertising is crap!
Another thing I pointed out last time is that “targeted advertising” which is the buzzword of Google and Facebook for the last two decades is proving to not be as effective as promised. I really think it is a scam like blockchain and bitcoin.
I visit a lot of tech sites, and as a result, tech ads follow me around. I also visit a lot of entertainment sites, and what shows up? Tech ads. When I go back to the tech sites, I get a bunch of entertainment ads. To Google I ask, “How is this more effective?” To advertisers I ask, “How is this more bang for your buck?”
It seems to me a much better way to “target advertise” is to advertise on sites that potential customers are likely to go. That way there is no incentive for Google, Facebook, and other associated scammers to collect personal information.
VC Money is out! Consolidation is in!
For the last decade or so, the main source of income from the internet came from investors looking to get in on the next big thing. It seems that VC money is drying up, thanks to too many lost investments, and that means you have to make money by selling a service, selling advertising, or getting bought out.
The biggest trend right now is that internet media sites are consolidating, or closing their doors. The ones most successful at it, like Vox, Vice, and Buzzfeed are moving into multimedia and offline content. The less successful ones are closing their doors and putting up “for sale” signs.
The overall health of the internet: Bad!
While researching this page I came across a report by Mozilla about the health of the internet. Between personal data collection, bots, “fake news”, fraud and abuse online, and a number of other factors, it looks pretty bad.
What can be done about it? That’s a whole other post for later.