The bad thing is that, this will absolutely kill the platform. Porn and porn gifs have always been popular on Tumblr for as far as I can remember. I'm not a Tumblr user, but this is just a fact anyone that has ever even casually browsed it knows.
That being said, I also believe the apple ban wasn't explicitly because of cp, but also because an app known for NSFW conflicts with their "image", in the same manner ad companies also refuse to associate with it, but couldn't use that as the reason due to the PR backlash Tumblr is getting now
The most offensive to modern sensibilities (and advertisers) isn't the naked people, but the gore, self harm, and extreme fetish communities.
Ok, Facebook presumably dodges the problem with privacy settings. But it's no harder to post an underage selfie on Reddit or Twitter than on Tumblr, and those sites have much larger userbases. Their apps haven't been hit by Apple, nor have they ever talked about resorting to outright adult-content bans to control it.
So what's the difference? Are there any major theories other than "tumblr's site moderation tools sucked" and "tumblr's moderation team was way too small"?
On the other hand, there's just as much harm from the no-shame communities - look up pro-ana for an example, and the realize that groups like this exist for many forms of self harm, including cutting, drug abuse, and (and this one is personal to me) rape.
https://youtu.be/Y7lYeRqhQ9Q is a good example of how young people can be drawn into these sorts of toxic relationships. And he worst part is: most of the warning signs aren't a problem in and of themselves. It is only in patterns and degrees that you realize that there's something deeply wrong, and the behavior has crossed a line. The lines aren't bright and clear - but, to some extent, the people who wander even near and don't immediately turn away are the ones you know are willing to cross it.
Some other services by MS that might build on this:
Anecdotal, but I once found overt prostitution on a classifieds app on the App Store. It’s an app with no category for such services and an age rating of 4+. We’re talking full blown nudity, with a phone number and a link to another site with yet more photos. I know (thought) Apple cared about that, so I reported the situation. They shrugged it off and said it was the developer’s responsibility. I pointed out that web browsers have a 17+ rating exactly because they allow access to that type of content. They still didn’t care.
And, just like Youtube suddenly "discovering" an entire industry of exploitative child videos on their platform, I have a difficult time believing Tumblr's owners didn't know this was an issue, given how widespread NSFW content is on their platform. The truth is, Tumblr was willing to look the other way on child porn until it directly harmed their monetization efforts.
Why do people insist on spreading their uneducated unsubstantiated opinions? Do you know this is true? Why don't you link some papers showing how porn detection neural nets can accurately detect age as well.
Yes, I do know it's true. It's actually easier to detect child porn than it is to detect all porn, because there's a standard tool that's used by ~all major platforms, along with a database of known images of child pornography managed by ICMEC. As new images are discovered, those are added to the list as well.
Source: I personally know engineers who have worked on detecting child pornography for platforms like Tumblr and Facebook, for the purpose of filtering them out and reporting potential child abuse.
This makes checking against the ICMEC database worthless, as the content is brand new and has never been online before.
That actually doesn't matter; it's straightforward to find the networks of people sharing underage content. It is very rare that someone will only be sharing fresh, self-published content which is never shared or reposted by anyone else who also shares content in the ICMEC database at any point.
If you're analyzing content in a sheer vacuum, yes, this would be a problem, but you're not - you're analyzing content which is spread across a social network, and you're looking for networks which are intentionally seeking out and sharing this material. It is a much more straightforward problem than most people realize; it just requires the right staffing and resources (ie, problems which are directly solved by money).
> This makes checking against the ICMEC database worthless, as the content is brand new and has never been online before.
On the contrary; that's the exact mechanism by which the ICMEC database gets expanded.
This is why even the DOJ opposed SESTA and FOSTA - websites that are used by sex workers are also great places to find and rescue victims of sex trafficking. Most sex workers aren't trafficking victims, but a large number of trafficking victims are listed on those sites as well. It was one of the primary ways that the DOJ would rescue victims and prosecute traffickers. With those sites gone, traffickers have gone underground, and it's much more difficult to find them.
OR! It is pisses off advertisers. Large advertisers don't want their ads on a page with porn and will yank budgets if it happens. Having to police which UGC tumbler page uses porn + ads is also impossible.
It's not because of child pornography. It's because Congress passed a law that makes the platform criminally liable if sex workers use the platform (even if said sex work is legal).
Child porn is a solvable problem (it takes some engineering work and some money, but as stated in other comments, it's a solved problem, which is why most other sites don't struggle with it). On the other hand, there is literally no way for a site like Tumblr to comply with SESTA and FOSTA at that scale without effectively banning all pornography and other content that could be construed as facilitating sex between people.
 From the point of view of the platform, that is, not that child porn doesn't still exist
CP has been a problem on Tumblr for long time. I've seen many complaints about them not being fast enough to stamp on it when reported (presumably due to a lack of resources, policing image content on such a site must be a gargantuan task).
What has changed now, and what many believe is the driving force behind this policy change, is in part the threat of their revenue steam being affected due to advertisers taking notice, and more pressingly ATM app stores getting wary. Specifically Apple dropped their app from the iStore in November.
As far as I know, that tool detects photos that have been previously identified as underage, not the age of the person in the photo, and whether or not it contains lewd content.
I feel like this article isn’t making good faith arguments. Every single sentence is trying to tear down Tumblr’s announcement word by word without attempting to understand their position, making the worst case assumption about their intent rather than assuming reason, and Tumblr’s position seems to be completely reasonable. Tumblr isn’t for porn anymore, just like most other web sites on the planet.
Plus, if they lost a spot on the Apple App Store due to porn, then the title isn’t true, removing the porn and getting back on the App Store will definitely make their situation better.
The EFF is an advocacy organization. It definitely "advocates", and does not generally make "rational" arguments. If you always like everything they do, you may have a hard time seeing this, but if you've ever seen them speak about something you are either ambivalent about (probably a lot of people on this matter today) or even outright disagree with them on (as I have), it becomes clear.
I'm not particularly trying to be critical of them here. They advocate; it's what they say they do, it's what they are set up to do, and they're generally in a space that nobody else is even close to advocating for. But I do think it's important to understand them for what they are.
Not every position needs to be advocated for.
It's an interesting dynamic in the role of advocacy...
And if you want to bemoan that, hey, I'm right there next to you, but, here we are....
Just because one is able to dissect and understand a position that exists and how it functions logically doesn't mean it has their support. After all, I hold the opinion that if you can't articulate a counterargument to your own and truly appreciate its structure, it's probably not the "hill you want to die on".
Also, the burn-down-the-world response to child pornography by removing every single female-presenting nipple is such an overwhelming response it's hard to believe this is appropriate. Even assuming they could do it correctly - their current implementation flags pictures of chrysanthemums as lewd content.
They are not removing every single nipple. And the EFF is criticizing them for not removing every single nipple, complaining that it's "subjective" and will "leave a lot of people on uncertain ground."
It's worth taking care to distinguish what's being done from what the new policy is. The policy exempts artistic, political, and some other non-erotic uses of nudity, which is good to point out. But so far, the actual outcome is that nudity is being flagged and removed with no regard for context (or, say, the difference between a human and a statue). Some of it is being restored on appeal some of the time, but that's very different from "not removed".
Admittedly it's quite hard to draw a specific conclusion about how non-sexual nudity is being handled, since what's being removed is basically the random output of an untrained classifier. (Which, incidentally, leaves all of their users on uncertain ground.) But the examples of many other websites with similar rules suggest a major chilling affect on ostensibly approved content, either because it's not restored or because takedown-and-restore patterns prevent normal engagement with material.
The policy - the goal - is what’s important, and what I was referring to, not today’s rollout hiccups. The exaggeration in the above comment and in the article are what I’m reacting to. Tumblr is not intending to remove “every single nipple”, they are taking down porn, which has and always will have some gray areas at the edges. The hyperbole and exaggeration that they’re intending to ban any and all nudity, when they’re not, weakens the arguments against Tumblr.
It’s not like any of this discussion will change Tumblr’s decision, but if people want to make a point of criticizing their decision, the strongest arguments will show why their stated policy is bad, not put up a strawman that Tumblr is trying to censor socially acceptable nudity when they’ve already stated that’s not their goal.
We've seen in the past "no nipples some exceptions" from Facebook, and if enforcement there is any indication, I'm not convinced there will be a practical difference.
I don't think this represents Tumblr's statement accurately. The policy bans all adult content not meeting a small list of exceptions, not just porn plus ambiguous edge cases. The ban offers no exemptions for educational content, and its health and reproduction exemptions are limited to nipples - all genitalia outside of art and political content is apparently banned. Female-presenting toplessness is only permitted under narrow conditions.
This is not a small difference. A health-class video of a birth is banned. NYC's Outdoor Topless Fiction Appreciation Society couldn't post pictures of legal, non-sexual toplessness in Central Park. As written, National Geographic photos of tribes which are regularly topless are banned. (They might be news, but not "newsworthy speech".)
It's not "every single nipple", agreed, but there's no attempt at all to limit this to porn. Tumblr is trying to censor socially acceptable nudity - not all of it, but their stated goal includes several things which are socially acceptable.
> it’s an implementation detail that is temporary, has some problems (which Tumblr acknowledged), and is being worked on. The policy - the goal - is what’s important, and what I was referring to, not today’s rollout hiccups... a strawman that Tumblr is trying to censor socially acceptable nudity when they’ve already stated that’s not their goal.
Here, I think we disagree less on theory than on faith in Tumblr(/Oath/Verizon) engineering, and so I suppose the matter will be settled by fact eventually. What follows is just an outline of my current thinking.
I expect they'll eventually get an implementation which doesn't flag pictures at near-random, yes. But I expect they will never get past a state where any nudity less famous than David or Phan Thi Kim Phuc will be flagged and require a cumbersome human approval. Accounts focused on clearly-permitted nudity like Femen protests or breastfeeding positivity will end up banned for repeated flags and need human un-banning, if that process even exists reliably.
All prior evidence from Tumblr says that simple, well-documented bugs are likely to go unfixed for years, and "don't take down certain types of nudity" is not simple. And if I may be permitted some cynicism, I expect that both Apple's action and Oath's apparent business plans will make false positives far more appealing than false negatives.
If nudity of all types is restricted in practice, and I fully expect that outcome, then the stated goal is only evidence against malice. This obviously isn't a criminal matter, but the culpability framework is helpful. I agree that the general censorship of nudity was not 'purposeful', but I think the initial rollout was either 'negligent' or 'reckless' and running the planned full takedown on the 17th using the same algorithm would be 'knowing'. Past a certain point, it's not really worth discussing intent because everyone involved ought to be aware that their actions couldn't possibly fulfill that intent.
They were likely planning this since March, which is when FOSTA and SESTA were passed.
Good lawyers can't trust faith to be held accountable, they need everything to be written in explicit terms in order to ensure that if a gentleman's handshake isn't enough then a lawsuit is.
With that said, I believe it is up to Tumblr to prove that they are acting in good faith; so far they have failed to do so in the most basic sense by simply blanket flagging most content as NSFW and turning against a huge portion of their user base in the first place to appease advertisers.
If something is not explicitly allowed under the rules, I wouldn't trust that it's going to be allowed by some discerning human of goodwill.
"Vagueness" and room for interpretation is not inherently bad, as you point out. But it's dangerous when your policies for automated filtering are vague, because filters almost always play it safe and end up creating a large number of false positives (i.e. wrongful content takedowns).
They want to clean up their image by removing anything that might rock the boat. What more is there to understand?
Ohhh, right..... the advertisers.
It's impossible to do that legally anymore, because these platforms will always be used by people who do sex work (whether or not they are using the platform for sex work).
As of March of this year, the criminal liabilities are so massive that there's no way to operate a sex-positive platform at scale. That's why we're seeing Tumblr and (as of yesterday) Facebook move towards these draconian anti-sex policies.
The liability that FOSTA and SESTA impose is very "contagious" - it applies not just to the people running the website (e.g. Tumblr) but can extend to anyone that does business with them as well, if that business is deemed necessary enough to the core function of the site.
It'd be very difficult to run any sort of sex-positive blogging platform at scale without, at some point, doing business with someone who has enough of a presence in the US to be exposed to liability under FOSTA and SESTA.
Even Cloudflare had to terminate the account used by Switter, a Mastodon instance for sex workers, because of FOSTA.
it already exists (plus other features, granted).
Sure, while Fetlife might not be a "blogging" platform like Tumblr or WordPress is, the functionality of the site as a community shouldn't be dismissed as a viable alternative for tumblr refugees just because it isn't dedicated to periodical columns the way WordPress is even while the platform has a versatile and quite heavily used blogging feature.
It also trends strongly towards kink
Yes. It does. That's the point. They advertise it as such or try to convince you of anything otherwise. . They don't sell you anything else. That's entirely who the community was built for, it's the entire purpose of the site.
The very first thing you see when you go to the website is:
FetLife is the Social Network for the BDSM, Fetish & Kinky Community.
So yes. That's exactly the point of the site. But I also made sure to add, that among other things, the site is a pretty good and welcoming community for artists of many types: painters, drawers, photographers, writers, it can be many things to many people who want to trade in, and interact with 'adult content' despite the headline viewers see before even logging in or creating an account of their own.
But again, as I said in another comment in this subthread: kink != sex and to be earnest in discussing the affair, it's probably helpful to divorce one from the idea that kinky material == sexy material. Some people find pleasure-and it doesn't have to be sexual pleasure, it could entirely be psychosomatic in controlling what another says and does as a dom or domme. Conflating the two only sets back the entire discussion IMO.
Further, this part has me raising an eyebrow and sorry if I've missed your point but:
and white heteronormative sex, which excludes a huge portion of the Tumblr lgbtq+ spectrum.
Not to be a contrarian on the subject, but as a person of color, my own experiences with the site can be surmised the way a lot of people surmise their experiences with many sites like reddit, twitter, et al: pick the communities/subgroups you want to interact with, ignore those you don't.
So how does Fetlife as a platform "trend towards" white heteronormative sex? Just curious because the platform, best I can tell over the last five years as an active member allows the user to choose what groups they involve themselves with, and what people they involve themselves with and which groups they don't. If you're a person of color, looking to interact with polyamorous people who enjoy rope play, there's a good chance a group exists for it, and if not there is nothing stopping you from creating that.
If you're a white person who wants to interact with non-poly people and are looking for just plain-jane sex with other white people, there are groups for that too.
Best I can tell, Fetlife enables you as a user to find and interact with all sorts of individuals who fit your specific theme/motif of "pleasure" however you define it, and places no limitations on those who exist outside of however we decide to define "normative" on a given day.
Is it possible the experience you speak of has less to do with the platform and more the groups you've chosen to subscribe to and the people you've chosen to interact with?
Kink isn't sex, but guess what there is a lot of on Fetlife? SEX. Look at the trending page. It's all bondage, stupid rants, and sex/nudes. That is literally all that is on the page right now.
It's white and heteronomative because, again, look at the viral feed. It's all white people having straight sex. I know of maybe 3 regular-old gay men on the whole site. The gay leather community, which literally invented BDSM, is bearly represented at all. And if there are pictures of women, or just any woman with an account, they get inundated by men trying to have sex with them.
Back to Tumblr - if I want to find furry-related content on Tumblr, I just search for "furries" and bam - gifs/jpgs, short posts, memes, everything the Tumblr community wants. I can also search Google and plenty of content comes up.
Now, if I want to find furry content on Fetlife, I have to log in, search for "furries", and individually weed through 602 discussion groups, looking at every individual's profiles, because no posts come up on the search page. No posts. No gifs/jpgs. No. Memes. It would take hours to find the same content.
This is not what Tumblr users want. Fetlife will not work for them.
"regular-old gay"??? Would you care to articulate what this even means? What is 'regular' gay? Is there a 'regularity' of being gay or are you applying YOUR presumptions of sexual orientation to a group of people you've never met?
I feel like this probably says much more about how you're using the site than you (probably) intend to give off, and further belies what your associations with the LGBT and kink communities are even to begin with describing things so lackadaisically and I'm not sure I'm inclined or convinced by anything you're really countering with as to what the Fetlife community even is.
It seems limited, surface-level, and full of projections that reduce a spectrum of experiences, desires and wishes for the site down to some personal hangups that really aren't worth discussing here.
And if this comment seems inflammatory to you, then I'll point back to the very beginning of my apoplectic response to your "regular-old gay" comment as an example of exactly how it feels.
Anyhow, that aside I'm leaving the discussion to rest with this: Fetlife isn't a 1:1 replacement for EVERY disaffected Tumblr user out there, but it is a good alternative for some, has good features for some, and can be a good and enjoyable community for others.
The gay leather community, which literally invented BDSM, is bearly represented at all.
This is patently false to the point of almost being humorous, but also and even so, the Kink world is several times larger than the "gay leather community". It's mdae up of more people with more varied interests than whatever outmoded idea of Kink you have from the 80's.
I probably did a poor job phrasing that from the start, here-admittedly, or getting the point across that it has features some may find attractive to use for the type of content they want to publish, but to be honest I find your particular characterization in response as a counterpoint to be missing a lot of nuance of the platform, and one that dismisses and completely erases entire social-groups who use the site successfully to create their own local communities, groups and networks based on a few cherrypicked features.
If you'd like, I would be MORE than willing to share with you some of the groups and events on the site that (1) aren't about "white heteronormative sex" or (2) full of stupid rants, because contrary to what you're putting out here: they are NOT that hard to find, they are NOT that hard to join, and they are ABSOLUTELY welcoming to all sorts of flavors, identities and orientations. I really suggest you take a much closer look at the site than someone who made an account ten minutes ago and decided their mind is made up
Tumblr has sex, memes, libraries posting cute pictures from old books, cat gifs and everything else.
I think you'd be surprised at the amount of people who are on Fetlife and aren't looking for sex but rather enjoy the kink community, are photographers, or content creators of other types (the blogging feature for example gives you the option of treating/tagging posts as blogs or as "erotic fiction", catering towards that particular wing of the sexually creative types).
Hence my statement of (plus other features, granted) in the original comment.
Sure, it's oriented towards the Kink crowd but Kink != explicit sex.
Of course, decentralised systems like that have their own problems, and there are reasons they're not very widely used. But in principle, a technological solution (make it easier to use/run federated, decentralised alternatives) seems preferable to a social or legal one. Assuming it can be done.
I have since changed my stance after that event: platforms should deplatform everything they don't like. It's the only way people will advocate for solutions that support free speech in all its forms.
EDIT: Everyone running their own phpBB instance is looking pretty smart right now. To own your content/speech/destiny, you have to own your platform.
The columns can be published sure, but in some fringe publications that I don't have to know about.
I also don't like the idea that all people with rubbish ideas should be able to demand distribution via any popular network/publication/institution. However when someone with rubbish ideas is already known, refusing debates or stuff like that is just silly.
Also it's good to remember that free speech means you shouldn't be persecuted for your words. Not that you can't be disliked or made fun of.
Some people don't want nudity in their platforms as well, so be prepared for those sites to deplatform with extreme prejudice.
Tumblr users publishing the sexual and nude content that they do makes them what the general public would consider a fringe publication. It should be unsurprising that Verizon/Oath intend to nuke all of it.
"I have enjoyed this use case that is currently allowed. I dislike the fact that this use case will be going away. If it does happen, I am much less likely to use the site. I think you should reconsider your decision."
Tumblr, of course, is free to disregard this feedback, but I cannot see how there is anything even slightly wrong with concerned users providing it.
Should have just used AWS or Google Cloud AI APIs
Shirtless guy on the beach? Banned!
Completely naked person with genitals in full view, posed to arouse prurient interests? Totally fine, apparently.
Totally agree that they should have used existing tools. As for the CP issue, they absolutely should be using the tools published by Microsoft, the FBI, etc. - it is totally shameful if they weren't already doing that.
It has in fact become a meme, example
Now I'm told my porn Tumblr with 5,000 posts and 45,000 subscribers will be made private (i.e. deactivated).
The internet is dying, man.
- Verizon/Oath could make a reasonable exit and get some of their investment back
- Users could continue using Tumblr
- Tumblr could continue to exist
if Verizon/Oath sold it to Mindgeek or a similar adult focused company.
Kill the porn => make tumblr cheap to run => make money off the ads => profit
So when I saw so many people talking about "I get all my porn" from tumblr, my immediate response is ".....seriously?"
As a commenter, there are several "good faith" ways to respond to this:
- I disagree, this is not harmful to these users, because ____
- I agree that this is harmful to these users, but that is outweighed by ____
- I don't know whether or not this is harmful to these users, and I'm looking to learn more about their concerns.
You seem to have taken another route, "I don't understand this concern at all, nor do I intend to educate myself on it, and instead I'm going to rant about how these people are bad for society". This doesn't strike me as productive.
(Also: you're arguing against an imaginary position. Nobody is claiming that Tumblr doesn't have the right to decide what content is allowed on their platform. The argument isn't that tumblr can't do this. This is just shedding a light on the harm this decision will cause)
You've effectively changed what he said. He said something much simpler: there are children that use Tumblr; because there are children that use Tumblr, removing porn from Tumblr should not be controversial.
A "nuanced" reply would assess the risk of exposing children to the fascinations of various alternative communities that do not dabble in child porn. I don't see "Porn is obviously bad", but I do see exposing children to porn is obviously bad.
As it stands, Tumblr is not just banning someone's stash of hardcore sex videos. It also is banning, say, a casual vacation photo taken on a beach where topless sunbathing is acceptable (due to the explicit ban on female nipples except for a few narrow contexts). On a more "adult" level, it is also banning stuff in between the two categories, like say boudoir photography (which is usually adult in nature, sometimes erotic / titillating, but is usually not explicitly pornographic.)
Even the "any content that depicts sex acts" seems vague. Would something like, say, Rodin's "The Kiss" -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kiss_(Rodin_sculpture) -- be flagged? I don't know, it depends on what the auto-algorithms sees as a "sex act" I guess. Certainly if you were an artist that dabbled in any sort of erotic drawing / painting, the vague definition would probably be a worry IMHO.
(Tumblr is already 13+ already. Commercial crass porn is one thing, but I personally don't think there is any problem showing a 13+ year old this Rodin sculpture or a casual beach shot where topless sunbathing is acceptable.)
As a parent, the idea of exposing my kids to the internet is frightening. There are so many paths by which they can get exposed to stuff they shouldn't be exposed to. I, personally, think that attempts to make more of the internet child friendly are good. The internet as it exists today is like walking down the Main Street of some town, except that people surprise you by randomly jumping out from behind mailboxes and shrubs and engaging in hardcore sex on the sidewalk. It's insane.
It's widely believed to be an issue of effective enforcement, and they explicitly call out the connection in their own announcement.
First, they're deploying a machine-learning algorithm that simply does. not. work. It's flagging SFW content and ignoring NSFW content. I've been collecting a sample of erroneously-tagged posts here: https://paperairplanemob.tumblr.com/tagged/GREAT-WORK-VERIZO...
Second, it is a marked change from an earlier effort to make a "Safe Mode" for minors that filters out illicit content for those that don't want to (or shouldn't) view it. This is taking it a step farther, leaving those that have previously used Tumblr for such content scrambling to find a new platform.
Third, the announcement was incredibly disrespectful to the existing community on Tumblr. Everything from the post's title to the language used ("female-presenting nipples") was laced with corporate double-speak that would barely have flown on a normal social network. On Tumblr? Yeah, no.
Finally, because this is a change from earlier behavior on Tumblr, it's going to change the social makeup of the network. I don't go to Tumblr for illicit material; that's not why I'm there. I'm there to see and read some good fandom material, read webcomics, and have a good time. The previously lax content policy meant that the people I follow were free to experiment and be creative without worrying about having a post taken down for violating some vaguely defined "no porn" rule. Now, even if someone isn't posting illicit material, they still have an algorithm to content with. If they make it through the algorithm, they still have to worry about someone with an axe to grind reporting their content anyway. Eventually, people will stop posting rather than deal with the new changes. And that's going to change the community on Tumblr.
So no, in the broad scheme of things, there are plenty of other things we should be worried about. But something we love is being taken away from us, and we're going through the stages of grief as a result.
Web 2.0 spent the last 15 years taking over the internet. They made publishing easy enough for your mom. The web evolved from a niche many-to-many medium into a really global, many-to-many medium.
But... In exchange for these great, free publishing tools... most online content got concentrated and funnelled through a handful of companies. Being startups, they had reasonably diverse personas. Family friendly Facebook, anarcho-lunatic Reddit, neckbeard news.yc and pansexual tumblr...
As valuations grew, online advertising exploded and startups aged... they all end up with the same corporate persona.
I care about freedom too. But, I think a lot of liberals/libertarians (like me, this isn't shade) get too caught up in philosopmhical "blackboard freedom" and don't look at actual freedom.
An web where most content is reviewed by a taboo filter (this is what nsfw means, taboo) is not as free as one that isn't.
I'll throw out a reminder that many of the web's first communities existed to discuss taboo topics: drugs, sex, etc.
These were, for example, in my opinion, responsible for the cultural liberalisation that enabled "the great coming out" of gay and other marginalized culture.
Used to be if you wanted a presence on the web, you did it yourself. You got hosting, you learned what you needed to learn if there was something unfamiliar to you, some trial and error later, a website. You dot com.
The platforms came and soon it became you dot theirplatform dot com. Because they made it easier, faster and cheaper to get your stuff out there and get it seen by many people also posting on 'the platform'...the great tragedy is that it also made it easy for 'the platform' to get rid of 'your' stuff (read: stuff you leased to the platform) if at any point they decide, for whatever reason, they don't want it there.
I remember that being much harder to do that when it was you dot com. We were happy to do the work of putting up a you dot com. Some of us still are, because it's what we came up with, what we cut our teeth on so to speak.
Not sure if I'm really going anywhere with this...just sort of thinking idly at a bygone era I guess.
In the past, I would visit dozens of different websites in a day, each catering to their own little niche. Now, it's all moderated-subreddits which have to ultimately bow to the rules of the reddit admins.
It's impossible to have a decent conversation online now. Before, when everything was forums, the conversation in a thread was a single thing. People posting one after the other. Now, it's threaded comment chains where you get so many little conversations going on that it's garbage.
How many forum threads have you subscribed to and been eager to read the new replies the next time you visit? How many reddit posts have you ever returned to after the first visit, assuming you read the comments at all?
I hate the current-day internet. HN, SA and XDA excluded.
You forgot the gamification of it all with weighted popularity ranking. There's little point in contributing to any conversation unless it aligns with the existing accepted beliefs of the community.
And since have to maintain a minimum social credit/karma/gold/whatever score to function on many sites, why jeopardize it? Best to avoid controversial topics and opinions.
The web was very big, very early in absolute terms, but pretty small in the "number of people from your town" sense.
If this is your way of asking if people still visit Fark, the answer is "yes" :P
1. There's a core layer made up of an immutable ledger of encrypted social data (content users publish and relationships between users) and a series of protocols to use and manipulate that data. This layer is non-discriminatory and anything can be published.
2. The future "Facebook"s, "Tumblr"s create frontends that use (1)s data in interesting ways by consent of the user. These frontends can blacklist certain content depending on what their goals are. Depending on country of operation, these classes of services additionally act as legal gatekeepers for what is legal or non-legal content.