Porn Will Stay on Tumblr, Founder Karp Says

Jul 17, 2013 8:30 AM PST

NEW YORK — Tumblr founder David Karp said he’s not interested in censoring the microblogging and social media website even if some of the content’s considered to be porn.

When asked about the site’s reputation for being “porn central” in an interview on the Stephen Colbert TV show, Karp said there’s a lot of everything, but Tumblr’s taken a hard line on freedom of speech and it’s not something he wants to police. 

The Tumblr creator pointed to the site's “tasteful photography” that could be considered porn, but nevertheless is content that will be welcomed.

"When you have somebody like [glamour photographer] Terry Richardson or any number of very talented photographers posting tasteful photography, I don't want to have to go in there to draw the line between this photo and the behind the scenes photo of lady gaga and like, her nip," Karp said.

The question of porn on Tumblr has raised concern since Yahoo purchased the site last May for a cool $1.1 billion. The fear is that advertisers worried that their products will be placed next to sexual material will abandon the site.

Business Insider reported that according to SEO Book, a search term tracking service, Tumblr is rife with porn, and points to blogs including “shareyourwifewithus tumblr,” “snusk [amateur porn] tumblr,” “tumblr nsfw,” and “milf tumblr.”

But porn on Tumblr is apparent only when a user opts to follow it, so most advertisers needn’t necessarily fret about their products mixing in with adult content.

Whether Yahoo agrees with Karp’s anti-censorship stance is yet to be determined. Karp’s 4-year deal reportedly gives the 26 year-old CEO autonomy, and considering it was Yahoo’s new CEO Marissa Mayer's first big move to attract a hipper audience, the outlook to have his way looks good.

But Facebook just this month started to ban ads on its Pages and Groups that sell adult products or it deems as containing any violent, graphic or sexual content in an effort to quell the concerns of its advertisers.

And the Internet still struggles with the “porn vs. art” question. YouTube recently yanked a video about sexual rights for the handicapped claiming it violated its standards.

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