Hana Phifer | @findthatHana

We all know that tagging is important. We’ve gone over it and over it again in our digital marketing classes about how “properly tagging our posts and content can drive your site to the top of the SEO ladder.”

But tagging isn’t just for the content creators and crazy digital marketers striving to be the most relevant. Tags are actually used by the readers and consumers of the blogs and social media to filter, find, and follow blogs that use the tags they love and hate.

One social media/blogging website that uses tagging like no ones business is Tumblr. Tumblr is a blogging site that was recently bought by Yahoo and is allows users to curate content of their liking and follow other to create a dashboard of content. People frequently use tags on this site to control the content that appears on their dashboard even more so, “blacklisting” items they don’t want to see and following certain tags in order to track them.

We are all aware of the events that happened in Ferguson that have caused protests and upset nationally and even internationally. Many of us likely initially found about the tragedy and following events through social media like Tumblr. Many having been tracking the events and protests through the #Ferguson and #MikeBrown tags and using the #BlackLivesMatter and #Crimingwhilewhite to spark conversations across social media about social injustices.

Social media, as we’ve seen in many posts on this blog, can be an extremely powerful and important tool for social justice advocates in foreign countries where the mainstream news has criminal connections, strong biases, or just covers up the truth. Social media is supposed be this saving grace; a news sources for and by the people kind of thing.

On Saturday rumors spread around Tumblr that staff was deleting and censoring any posts tagged with “#Ferguson.” There were also rumors that Yahoo, YouTube (owned by Google), and CNN had began removing anything tagged with “#Ferguson” from their sites.

Tumblr users were outraged. Although many had began to stop tagging Ferguson related material, even religious taggers did this so that others could not “blacklist” the items and not have to see the posts, the lost of tracking and following ability caused many to immediately question Tumblr integrity.

The Head of Communications at Tumblr, Katherine Barna, made a statement saying that any claim about staffers were purposefully clearing or blocking the #ferguson tag was “completely inaccurate” and that Tumblr is “committed to supporting and protecting freedom of speech.”

Tumblr did delete a number of posts made under the #Ferguson tag because these posts were doxs of KKK members released by Anonymous, a social justice “hacktivist. Doxing is “the practice of posting someone’s private information online for purposes of vigilante justice or harassment.”

Doxing poses many ethical questions, as it is clearly a direct violation of someone’s privacy. It’s easy to hate doxing when used by the people of 4chan, where doxing is frequent and where Anonymous originated, to attack women like Felicia Day and Anita Sarkeesian (@femfreq) for sharing their feelings on GamerGate. Yet it is so easy to cheer when Anonymous hacks the KKK’s Twitter account and releases all of their personal information and post on their website the video of Tamir Rice being killed.

As our generation and those after us enter into this new time of continued social injustices and extremely media exposure, we must decide where to draw the new lines with censorship, privacy, and “hacktivism.”

To further the discussion watch:




#Ferguson, #tagging, #doxing, #Tumblr, #YouTube, #GamerGate, #Yahoo, #hacktivism, #doyougetityet, #icouldn’ttaginthetagpart, #thisissilly


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