Tumblr CEO Acts His Age on Censorship Dilemma

David Karp, the 22-year-old CEO of blogging startup Tumblr, has decided he doesn't want to be in the business of censorship after all. Now everyone's free to make fun of his friend Julia Allison.

Karp decided to ban five blogs, including two which primarily mocked Tumblr posts by Allison, a dating columnist turned Internet microcelebrity, on Monday — and then announced a new anti-"harassment" policy supporting his decision on Tuesday. Today, he revoked that policy, and reversed the ban. "This policy had nothing to do with any personal relationships," he wrote in his Tumblr. Bold and italics, so you know he really meant it!

Instead, he introduced a blocking feature users have long asked for. Here's why they want it: When someone "reblogs" a Tumblr post, a link to his or her blog appears on the reblogged post. Some Tumblr users, Allison included, find this annoying, especially when the Tumblr blogger does not agree completely with their worldview. This may have something to do with most Tumblr users having an emotional age similar to the chronological age of Tumblr's CEO. Tumblr's new "block" feature allows them to blithely ignore people who read and comment on things they publish on the Internet.

The "block" feature has a salutary bonus for Tumblr as a business: It avoids the need for Karp to get involved in his friends' hysterical fits over people reading and commenting on things they publish on the Internet. Instead, he can figure out how to make money for his investors.

He had previously hinted about announcing some kind of money-making scheme on Monday. (He sold some electronic valentines. So cute!) Instead of crowing about that, he was tied up figuring out a policy to protect the Julia Allisons of the world. His backers must be pleased he's finally rolled out a feature to block his friends' personal problems from his agenda.

(Photo via Flickr)