robots forbidden

Back in June when Tumblr announced that blogs containing “primarily explicit content” would no longer be visible on the open web (but only to logged-in Tumblr users), I wrote:

Although the email does not say so, I predict that explicit-content blogs will go back to flying that involuntary robots.txt that makes them invisible to the search engines, too. No more outside search-discovery for Tumblr porn!

That day is here, and it gives me no pleasure to announce that I was right. A reader forwarded the email they got from Tumblr:

We’re contacting you to let you know that your Tumblr has been marked as containing explicit content. This means it won’t be visible to minors, people who are using Tumblr in Safe Mode, and people who aren’t logged into Tumblr.

No mention of search, but when I went to check the robots.txt on their Tumblr, sure enough:

tumblr disallows search robots

As I explained in Thou Shalt Not Search Adult Tumblr Blogs back in 2013 when Tumblr first tried to sneakily hide all the porn blogs:

In robot, that means, roughly “All robots: stay out!” No search spiders allowed. No Internet Archive crawler. The tumblr is there, but you have to know about it, or you have to be linked to it. You won’t find it in Google, you won’t find it in any other search engine that honors robots.txt, and when Tumblr decides to stop hosting it, you won’t find the pages in the Wayback Machine — it will be gone for good, lost to humanity unless somebody with the technical chops and outlaw sensibilities of Archive Team finds a way to archive it anyway, robots.txt be damned.

So it is now official. The ghetto walls are up and the gates are closed. The adult-Tumblr community is no longer part of the open web. The #pornocalypse has claimed another social media victim.

Image credit: the graphic at the top of the post has been adapted from part of a panel that appeared in Action Comics #292 (1962).

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