Tumblr has been hiding search results on iOS for a range of tags for many weeks to comply with the App Store’s requirements. Tumblr is attempting to resolve the problem today by releasing a sensitive content option for its iOS app, enabling users to choose whether or not they want to access sensitive information. In most cases, the toggle prevents you from viewing sensitive material by default.)
When you search for a sensitive tag — such as “marijuana,” for example — the redesigned Tumblr iOS app will now conceal the results of your search. An alert will instead display, requesting that you disable the sensitive material filter if you want to access your search results. Instead of being taken to an in-app menu when you click “show me the settings,” you’ll be sent to the Tumblr website on your mobile browser instead. Once you’ve made your changes, you’ll need to restart the iOS application for them to take effect. In the end, you’ll be able to view search results that feature fan art of Baby Yoda smoking a joint, which is a nice touch (yes, really).
According to Tumblr, when the “Conceal Sensitive Material” slider is activated, the app will hide post suggestions that include sensitive tags, blogs that contain explicit content, and searches that have sensitive labels, among other things. To be clear, explicit material is not nearly the same as adult content, which according to Tumblr, is defined as GIFs, photos, videos, or graphics portraying sex or female genitalia. Adult-oriented material is currently prohibited. A request for clarification from Tumblr on the difference between adult and explicit material has not yet been responded to by the company.)
The new setting allows users to view sensitive search results that do not break community rules and swipe through an overlay to access blogs tagged explicitly. However, the explicit material will still be blocked on iOS devices if the toggle is turned off. In addition, users who have the toggle turned off will get suggestions for potentially sensitive material.
Meanwhile, even when the toggle is enabled, certain tags that seem to be harmless may still cause the warning pop-up to appear. For example, we discovered during testing that the tag “submission” is prohibited unless the user opts out of the sensitive content filter, owing to the word’s sexual connotation. This is a problem since the term “submission” is often used in a different, non-sexual context on Tumblr’s platform. For example, if you publish anything to your blog submitted to you by another user, it will automatically be marked as such.
Before last year, Tumblr had featured a similar toggle button that could be found directly in iOS Settings and prevented users from accessing the site’s adult content unless they explicitly requested to see it. Before Tumblr’s decision to formally prohibit all pornographic material from its place in 2018, that option focused on banning the pornographic content hosted on the platform.
This recent upgrade gives our community more significant control over their experience on the iOS app, allowing people to create the experience that best suits their needs and explore the material that they find fascinating, Tumblr said in a corporate blog post. The background for our community is our first concern, but we must also adhere to Apple’s App Store Guidelines and our internal policies.