On Wednesday, Tumblr user Misandry Mermaid put up a post doxxing a man who sent her a rape threat. Tumblr removed that post, telling her, "We do not allow harassment on Tumblr."
Yesterday evening, Misandry Mermaid wrote:
Isn't that interesting.
Tumblr emailed me to tell me they deleted my post calling out the dude who sent me a rape threat.
But hasn't banned the dude who sent me a rape threat, even though I reported him.
I guess Tumblr just wants to make their site safer for people who send rape threats than those who receive them.
I guess it's not considered harassment to send rape threats, but if you name the person who sends you rape threats, you are harassing them.
Misandry Mermaid also had her account temporarily suspended by Tumblr, though for a time, she thought she'd been permanently removed from the platform. The original harassing message sent to her was:
Misandry Mermaid's original post doxxing her harasser is still down, but it has been stored on Google cache. With the help of her followers, she managed to get ahold of and post a number of salient details about her anonymous harasser: a photo of him, his name, his birthday, his address, a picture of his house, his phone number and the names of his parents. (At least one person apparently called his parents and spoke to them about his messages.) She asked them to report him for harassment, and a Tumblr was started in the actual name of this 17-year-old from Wisconsin. The blurb on it read:
I send women rape threats on the internet...I live with my parents...They defend my rape threats, saying I only do it because I have autism. I sure hope I'll never need to go to college or get a job someday, otherwise these rape threats I send people might come back to bite my misogynistic, rape-threat-loving ass. Welcome to my blog.
Since Misandry Mermaid's post about Tumblr removing her original "harassing" post went up, Tumblr has removed the Tumblr set up in the 17-year-old's name, as well two of his actual original Tumblr domains. Other Tumblr users allege that he's made other comments to them along the same lines. According to the now defunct Tumblr set up in his name, when confronted about his remark to Misandry Mermaid, he wrote:
It's not misogynistic to rape someone. It doesn't mean I hate her if anything it means I at least like her enough to stick my dick in her.
By posting about her harassers remarks and succeeding at doxxing him, Misandry Mermaid and her followers broke a number of Tumblr's Community policies, including rules about bullying minors, impersonating other people and violating the privacy of others:
Harm to Minors. Be thoughtful when posting anything involving a minor. Don't post or solicit anything relating to minors that is sexually suggestive or violent. Don't bully minors, even if you are one. Being a teenager is complicated enough without the anxiety, sadness, and isolation caused by bullying.
Confusion or Impersonation. Don't do things that would cause confusion between you or your blog and a person or company, like registering a deliberately confusing URL. Don't impersonate anyone. While you're free to ridicule, parody, or marvel at the alien beauty of Benedict Cumberbatch, you can't pretend to actually be Benedict Cumberbatch.
Privacy Violations. Don't use Tumblr to deceptively obtain personal information. Don't post content that violates anyone's privacy, especially personally identifying or confidential information like credit card numbers, social security numbers, unlisted contact information, or private photos of your ex's junk (no matter how remarkable).
But her harasser did the same thing, and he did it first, breaking rules about harassment and hate speech:
Harassment. Don't attempt to circumvent the Ignore feature or otherwise try to communicate with someone who has asked you to stop.
Malicious Speech. Don't encourage violence or hatred on the basis of things like race, ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation. We encourage you to dismantle negative speech through argument rather than censorship. We will, however, remove anything that is overtly malicious.
Much of the anger towards Tumblr stems from the fact that the harasser wasn't removed from Tumblr until after Misandry Mermaid's post about his behavior was removed (though there's a possibility he deleted his Tumblrs himself and was never penalized by the company). There's also a lot of frustration with the company because of how swiftly they responded to the doxxing of this underage harasser that sits at odds with the way they consistently respond (or don't respond) to complaints about threats on the platform. As one user wrote of Tumblr's moderation team:
HAH what a fucking JOKE. The number of times I have reported people harassing me and others, making multiple accounts to do so, submitting posts about them on hate websites etc. to receive a generic "just block them" response and they pull this.
im so angry
Misandry Mermaid has bounced back. She got this email from Tumblr support explaining her short ban from her site:
Please consider that this was a temporary suspension for flouting our policy. In the future reposting any post that has been removed by Tumblr staff is an offense that will result in termination. While we understand your stance in this case, Tumblr does not allow content that violates other peoples privacy information, whether they deserve it or not. Thanks for understanding.
To which she wrote:
So that explains that.
I do like the winky-eyed implication that they sorta agree with my side of things and that he deserves it, but they can't break policy, even to protect shitbags. Okay Tumblr. I hear you. We're cool.
Image via Bebeto Matthews/AP