Tumblr has begun a mass reblog deletion that is meant to purge hate speech from suspended blogs on its platform. In a post, the company said it’s removing 4.47 million posts reblogging content from nearly a thousand Nazi-related blogs that had already been frozen and deleted.
Most of the existing hate speech posts on its site came from those blogs, now remaining in the form of reblogs even after they’d been removed. And since the reblogs “rarely contained the kind of counter-speech that serves to keep hateful rhetoric in check” — they weren’t being used as educational examples or by those making counter-arguments to hate speech. In the future, it will evaluate blogs suspended for hate speech and decide whether mass deleting reblogs from them is the best way to handle things.
The company wrote that it consulted with outside groups and experts before making its decision. Some will definitely see the move as a form of censorship, so the company wasted no time defending itself regarding this:
“We are, and will always remain, steadfast believers in free speech. Tumblr is a place where you can be yourself and express your opinions. Hate speech is not conducive to that. When hate speech goes unchecked, it eventually silences the voices that add kindness and value to our society. That’s not the kind of Tumblr any of us want.”