Tumblr Safety Guide

  1. Tumblr's Policies
    1. What is not allowed on Tumblr?
    2. What is considered harassment on Tumblr?
    3. How does Tumblr specifically respond to online harassment?
  2. Report Harassment
    1. How do I report harassment, or abuse, on Tumblr?
    2. What actions does Tumblr take after receiving a report?
    3. What do I do if my complaint is rejected? Do I have any recourse?
    4. Who can report harassment on Tumblr?
    5. How can you report a post, a message, or a blog on Tumblr?
    6. How can you block someone on Tumblr?
    7. What should I do if I keep receiving unwanted anonymous ‘asks’?
    8. What happens when I block someone from my blog?
    9. Will someone know if I’ve blocked them?
    10. Will blocking someone prevent them from reading my blog posts?
    11. If I report someone on Tumblr, will they know I reported them? / Are reports kept confidential?
  3. Protect Your Privacy
    1. What are some advanced privacy features that can be used by people targeted for harassment on Tumblr?
    2. What can you do to prevent people from finding your blog?
    3. How to make a private post?
    4. How to activate the two-factor authentication on Tumblr?
    5. What resources does Tumblr offer for harassment victims?

  1. Tumblr's Policies

    1. What is not allowed on Tumblr?

      Tumblr’s Community Guidelines draw lines about harmful content that is not allowed on the platform. These are some of the categories included in their policies:

      • Malicious Speech
      • Terrorism
      • Harm to Minors
      • Promotion or Glorification of Self-Harm
      • Adult Content
      • Violent Content and Threats, Gore and Mutilation
      • Uploading Sexually Explicit Video
      • Non-Genuine Social Gesture Schemes
      • Deceptive or Fraudulent Links
      • Misattribution or Non-Attribution
      • Username/URL Abuse or Squatting
      • Spam
      • Account Dormancy
      • Mass Registration or Automation
      • Unauthorized Contests, Sweepstakes, or Giveaways
      • Themes Distributed by Third Parties
      • Copyright or Trademark Infringement
      • Confusion or Impersonation
      • Harassment
      • Privacy Violations
      • Disruptions, Exploits, or Resource Abuse
      • Unlawful Uses or Content
      • Human Trafficking and Prostitution

    2. What is considered harassment on Tumblr?

      In its harassment section, Tumblr prohibits behaviors like targeted abuse, unwanted sexualization, sexual harassment, or any form of cyberbullying. The platform encourages users to be proactive and report if someone is sending unwanted messages or reblogging posts in an abusive way.

    3. How does Tumblr specifically respond to online harassment?

      Tumblr offers a tool to report harassment (See next section) and encourages users to notify them of abusive behaviors or unwanted messages. The platform moderates content using a “mix of machine-learning classification and human moderation”. A group of trained experts analyzes the reports to “make nuanced contextual decisions”. If a content gets flagged, the user who posts it will receive a notification and will have the opportunity to appeal.

  2. Report Harassment

    1. How do I report harassment or abuse on Tumblr?

      You can report violations of the policies with separate online forms for each category:

      On each form, you will be asked for:

      • URL of the post you are reporting
      • A description, to the best of your ability, of how the post violates Tumblr’s Community Guidelines
      • Your email address
      • Your name (optional)
    2. What actions does Tumblr take after receiving a report?

      Tumblr’s Trust & Safety Team will review your report, and if the reported content violates the Community Guidelines, then any of the following may occur:

      • The abuser will receive a notice via email that he/she has posted banned content and must take it down
      • Tumblr will remove the abusive content
      • Tumblr will suspend or delete the abuser’s account

    3. What do I do if my complaint is rejected? Do I have any recourse?

      If you feel that your case wasn’t handled adequately (e.g., they rejected your report, abusive posts have not been deleted, harasser’s profile is not suspended, etc.), you should try to contact the platform again and provide any additional information that would affect the outcome of your complaint.

      Additionally, you can encourage your friends and family to report the harassment because more reports make it more likely that the platform will take it down. Remember that if you are worried about your safety, you should contact the Police or your local law enforcement agency.

      Finally, keep in mind that you are not alone in the struggle, and there is a HeartMob community that could support you – visit this page to request help. Try to remember that even if the harassment doesn’t meet Tumblr’s criteria, your experience and feelings matter and you deserve support. For instance, HeartMobbers can submit third-party reports to Tumblr.

      (See the steps that have been taken by other platforms here)

    4. Who can report harassment on Tumblr?

      Only the person who is experiencing harassment can report it. However, bystanders can report other abuses on behalf of someone else including promotion or glorification of self-harm, harm to minors, violent threat, or privacy violation.

      Bystander involvement helps to curb the harassment and shows the victim that they are supported by the community. Learn more about how you can help people experiencing harassment here.

    5. How can you report a post, a message, or a blog on Tumblr?

      Remember that before you report it, it's a best practice to screenshot the harassment.

      To report a post:

      1. Click or tap the meatballs icon (the three dots)
      2. Choose a reporting option from there.

      To report an entire blog:

      1. Click or tap the blog's username from the dashboard to view their blog.
      2. Tap the little human icon (or click the meatballs if you’re on desktop web)
      3. Choose "Report."

      Depending on the violation you're reporting, Tumblr might ask you a few extra questions.

      Report a spam message:

      1. Tap or click "Mark as spam" under the spammer's message. This option is only available on mobile. "Mark as spam" won't appear if it's somebody you follow or somebody you've already had a conversation with.

      Report a group chat:

      According to Tumblr

      “you can report a group chat as a whole by tapping the group chat’s name and then selecting “Report” from the meatballs menu. Owners can also remove any individual or a specific message by tapping the avatar of the member in question and removing them from the group chat”.

      It's really important to take time out to take care of yourself. Explore our self-care guides and get some tips on how to do it.

    6. How can you block someone on Tumblr?

      Blocking is a good option to prevent you from being harassed but keep in mind that blocking can mask threads and one of the concerns in doing so is that it might make risk assessment more difficult. If you're scared for your physical and mental safety, consider getting a trusted friend or family member to monitor your account instead.

      If you decide to block, you have the following options:

      From the user profile:

      1. Open the user’s blog by clicking or tapping on the avatar
      2. Go to the meatballs menu (●●●)
      3. Select Block.

      You can also use the meatballs menu on any post in your dashboard to block a blog.

      From your blog settings page

      1. Click the pencil to edit your blocked users
      2. Type in the name of the user that you want to block.

      From post notes

      1. Click the three dots that appear when you hover over a reply or reblog caption to bring up the block option.
      2. From the app, just tap (iOS) or tap and hold (Android) a reply or reblog caption to bring it up.

      From a messaging conversation

      1. Click or tap the three dots at the top of the screen, and choose "Block.

      From your mobile or web inbox

      1. Click or tap the three dots at the bottom of the ask or submission
      2. Hit "Block."

      From a push notification (for follows, mentions, or messages):

      Tap the "Block" button that comes up when you do the following:

      1. On newer iPhones with 3D Touch, hard-press the notification.
      2. On older iPhones, swipe the notification over to the left and tap the "View" button.
      3. On Android phones, swipe down on the notification.

      Tumblr also offers a feature called ‘Ask’, which allows users to submit questions directly to a blog. Questions can be answered privately or publicly and ‘askers’ can choose to submit a question as themselves or as an anonymous phantom. Please consider that “if you got an anonymous ‘Ask’, it may not be associated with any particular account, which means you cannot really block the person that sent it”. When you hit ‘Block’ on an anonymous ‘Ask’, you are blocking the IP address the ‘Ask’ came from. According to Tumblr, any further anonymous ‘asks’ sent from that address will never see the inside of your ask box and there is no way to unblock an anonymous IP address.

    7. What should I do if I keep receiving unwanted anonymous ‘asks’?

      The person sending unwanted anonymous ‘Asks’ could still send you more from another IP address. In this case, you could disable anonymous ‘Asks’ or even disable the ask feature entirely in your blog settings (under the account menu at the top of the dashboard).

      These organizations have resources for individuals experiencing online harassment

    8. What happens when I block someone from my blog?

      According to Tumblr, when you block someone:

      • They won’t be able to follow your blog
      • They won’t be able to message you.
      • They won’t be able to send you fan mails or ‘asks’ to your blog.
      • They won’t be able to see your blog’s posts on their Dashboard.
      • They won’t be able to like, reblog, or reply to your blog’s posts.
      • Your blog won’t show up in their search results.

      Just a note for anyone with secondary blogs: when you block someone, you will be blocking them from a specific blog on your account, not all of them. If you want to block someone from all of your blogs, then you will have to add them to each block list.

    9. Will someone know if I’ve blocked them?

      Tumblr does not tell people when you block them, but they might realize it on their own if, say, they try to reblog one of your posts and are prevented from doing so.

    10. Will blocking someone prevent them from reading my blog posts?

      No, because Tumblr is a public blog, anything you post can be seen by the public at large. Even if you block someone, they could still theoretically visit your URL and read your posts, just like any other member of the public. If they try to actually interact with your posts, though, they will be denied.

    11. If I report someone on Tumblr, will they know I reported them? / Are reports kept confidential?

      Tumblr does not notify the user being reported of the specific allegations being made against them. However, if the platform takes action on the complaint, the user will be notified if the content is removed from their account, or if their account is ultimately terminated.

      If you are being harassed, learn more about your rights here.

  3. Protect Your Privacy

    1. What are some other advanced privacy features that can be used by people targeted for harassment on Tumblr?

      If you're being targeted, you can decide to make your blog harder to access. This is a hard, and unfair decision to have to make, because ultimately the world needs your voice in it. That said, your safety is a priority. You may choose to limit access to your blog permanently, or just for a short period of time until the harassment stops.

      Password-protect your blog:

      You can make a blog password-protected so that only you, visitors to which you give the password, and Tumblr users you add as members can access it.

      According to Tumblr’s policies,

      “you can customize the theme and add members just like any other secondary blog, but the blog cannot be followed (and therefore won’t show up in anyone’s dashboard), and its posts cannot be liked or reblogged”.

      Keep in mind that password protection is only available for secondary blogs.

      To password protect your blog:

      1. Click "Settings" under the account menu (the person silhouette) at the top of the dashboard.
      2. Click your secondary blog name in the menu on the right side.
      3. At the bottom of your blog settings, enable “Password protect this blog.”
      4. Enter your desired password. You will see a green “saved” indicator to let you know you’ve password-protected the blog successfully.

      Learn some tips on how to boost your privacy from our Technical Safety Guide

    2. What can you do to prevent people from finding your blog?

      Hide your blog from people who aren't logged in.

      1. Go to the settings for the blog you want
      2. Scroll down to the "Visibility" section
      3. Turn on the switch that says "Hide username.tumblr.com.” This will make the blog only viewable within the Tumblr dashboard.

      Avoid people finding you via your email address

      On the app:

      1. Tap your account settings (the little human), then the gear icon.
      2. Tap “General Settings.”
      3. Select “Privacy” and turn off “Let others find you by email.”

      On the web:

      1. Click “Settings” under the account menu at the top of the dashboard (the little human).
      2. Turn off “Let people find your blogs through this address” at the top of the page.

      Hide your blog from search results

      In the app:

      1. Tap your account settings (the little human), and select the blog (if not already selected) in the top, left-hand corner of the screen
      2. Tap the gear icon, select “Visibility,” and turn on the “Hide (blog name) from search results” switch.

      On the web:

      1. Click “Settings” under the account menu at the top of the dashboard (the little human).
      2. Click the name of the blog on the right-hand side of the page.
      3. In the “Visibility” section, turn on the “Hide (blog name) from search results” switch.

      Tumblr clarifies that “sometimes the cached version of a Tumblr blog or post may remain on a search engine for some time, even after it’s removed from Tumblr or you’ve hidden it from search engines”.

      Hide your activity status

      You can turn off the green dot that indicates when you’ve been on Tumblr recently,

      In the app:

      1. Tap your account settings (the little human), then the gear icon.
      2. Tap “General Settings.”
      3. Tap to select the "Privacy" section.
      4. Turn off “Let others see that you're active.”

      On the web:

      1. Click “Settings” under the account menu at the top of the dashboard (the little human).
      2. Click “Privacy” on the right side of your screen.
      3. Turn off “Let others see that you're active.”
    3. How to make a private post?

      On the web:

      1. While creating a new post click the arrow next to "Post" and choose "Post privately" from the menu.
      2. Click "Post privately."

      On mobile:

      1. While creating a new post tap the gear wheel icon and choose "Post privately" from the menu.
      2. Tap "Post."

      Keep in mind:

      • The post will not be published to your blog, and you're the only one who can see it.
      • If you share the URL of a private post, other users will be able to access and view the post.
      • Private posts on secondary / group blogs can be seen by other Admins or Members.
    4. How to activate the two-factor authentication on Tumblr?

      Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an alternative you can use to make it especially difficult for anyone other than you to access your account. When you activate this option, you'll need a unique, single-use code (sent via text or generated by an authenticator app) to log into your account aside from your regular login info. This is a really useful tool to activate especially when you're facing a lot of online harassment or abuse because it will ensure that it doesn't escalate to taking over your account.

      1. Click "Settings" under the account menu at the top of the dashboard (the person silhouette). Or head directly to your settings page.
      2. In the Security section, enable “Two-factor authentication.”
      3. Now decide whether you'd like to receive the code via text or through an authenticator app (we’re into Google Authenticator).
      4. Follow the steps laid out in the Settings page.

      Get more tips on how to improve your digital safety here.

    5. What resources does Tumblr offer for people experiencing harassment?

      If you or someone you know is having a tough time or just needs to talk to someone, Tumblr offers a list of resources for that purpose. These can be found at their Counseling and Prevention Resources page.

      You can also explore Hollaback!'s tools and Heartmob’s resources. Also, learn how other social media platforms are responding to online harassment here.