Tumblr bans “Thinspiration” sites

Blogging host Tumblr and content sharing service Pinterest have taken steps to ban content which actively encourages self harm, anorexia and bulimia. So called “thinspiration” or “pro ana” sites are relatively common on the networks. Facebook already bans such content while Twitter and YouTube rely on user-reported violations of their acceptable use policies.

Tumblr believes such content encourages people who might otherwise seek medical help. It said several thousand blogs would be removed from the service, and future searches for related terms will direct users to sites where they can find help.

An online petition against the content removal was signed by over 1,600 users.

Issues and Questions

  1. How, technically, might this blocking work?
  2. Will this blocking be effective?
  3. Should services decide what type of content we can and cannot view, should governments do something about this content, or should end users be allowed to decide for themselves?
  4. How does blocking this type of content compare to the blocking of sites indexing copyrighted material such as music and films?

Sources: BBC News article, Sydney Morning Herald article


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