Tumblr, similar sites give MCMC a headache


Source: FMT News

Tumblr and similar sharing platforms make it hard to combat pornography. Pic taken from FMT News.

Tumblr and similar sharing platforms make it hard to combat pornography. Pic taken from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: One of the biggest challenges the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) faces in trying to stamp out pornography comes from the use of groups on internet platforms.

MCMC has informed FMT that such platforms included micro-blogging site Tumblr, which enables users to share blog entries, photos and music videos.

Tumblr allows “Not Suitable for Work” (NSFW) content, which may include adult content. It encourages blog owners with NSFW to flag their blogs as such. Tumblr users can also flag such content.

In the United States, authorities have taken action against a number of people for using Tumblr to upload and share child pornography.

Last year, Business Insider carried an article explaining the difficulty of blocking sites with mixed pornographic and non-pornographic content. These sites include Tumblr and Reddit, a forum where content is curated by users.

Both Tumblr and Reddit have hundreds of millions of users and anyone can create new sections and communities within the sites, making it virtually impossible to know what content users are hosting unless they are flagged.

A check by FMT found many Tumblr pages with pornographic content featuring local men and women. Some appear to be teenagers.

Such content prompted Indonesia to place a total ban on Tumblr last February, but the ban was quickly lifted.

Indonesia’s Communications and Information Ministry conceded that the site did not exclusively feature pornography. It said it asked Tumblr to practice self-censorship. It also said it was impossible for internet service providers to individually block Tumblr accounts which had questionable content.

The MCMC said Tumblr pages were among the 2,265 sites with pornographic content it had blocked in the past three years.

In 2014, 109 sites were blocked. The number increased to 983 in 2015. Last year MCMC blocked a total of 1,173 sites.

MCMC said it carried out its own search for pornographic sites to block, but would also rely on tip-offs from the public and help from internet service providers.

Last year, the government announced it would work with social networking app developer Telegram to crack down on those who used the app to spread pornographic material, especially child pornography.

This came after the Malay Mail Online reported on the circulation of thousands of pornographic pictures and videos, including those featuring children, in Malaysian Telegram groups.