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- Sep 20, 2018
- SLU Posts
Images of Jesus and superheroes caught up in Tumblr porn ban
Plenty more examples in the article.Ballet dancers, superheroes and a picture of Christ have all fallen foul of Tumblr’s new pornography ban, after the images were flagged up as explicit content by the blogging site’s artificial intelligence (AI) tools.
The company, which is owned by the US media conglomerate Verizon, said on Monday it would ban pornography from its site – and defined the term as covering any depiction of “real-life human genitals”, or “female-presenting nipples”.
Once the ban comes into effect on 17 December, any post containing such imagery will be deleted. But in order to moderate billions of posts in such a short timeframe, Tumblr has turned to AI tools that appear unable to distinguish clothed from naked figures, let alone tell whether a nipple is presenting as female.
The actor and Tumblr user Wil Wheaton posted one example: an image search for “beautiful men kissing”, which was flagged as explicit “within 30 seconds of me posting it”.
“These images are not explicit,” Wheaton wrote. “These pictures show two adults, engaging in consensual kissing. That’s it. It isn’t violent, it isn’t pornographic. It’s literally just two adult humans sharing a kiss.”
Other users chronicled flagged posts, including historical images of (clothed) women of colour, a photoset of the actor Sebastian Stan wearing a selection of suits with no socks on, an oil painting of Christ wearing a loincloth, a still of ballet dancers and a drawing of Wonder Woman carrying fellow superhero Harley Quinn. None of the images violate Tumblr’s stated policy.