Last week, Jeremy Cutler, developer of the popular Tumblr add-on Missing e, wrote a blog post that garnered 13,341 notes. “Your Freedom To Use Your Browser Is Under Attack,” he declared, pointing users to a draft of Tumblr’s new terms of service (the same update that will ban blogs about anorexia and cutting). The draft of the new terms appeared to say Tumblr could terminate the accounts of people who use browser extensions.
But after a few days of drama–what do you expect, it’s Tumblr–the company has clarified that it will not be cracking down on browser extensions.
Browser extensions like XKit, Tumblr Savior and Missing e, which adds features like Magnifier and Mass Editor to the basic Tumblr interface, are popular with Tumblr power users. One user wrote: “i definitely use one of these add-ons to make my tumblr dashboard a simple black instead of that hideous blue. and i use my own ‘reblog’ bookmark add-on because the one tumblr provides doesn’t always work.”
Tumblr, which prides itself on its smooth and Apple-like design, has made it clear that it is not crazy about these browser extensions. At one point the startup threatened to erase Mr. Cutler’s personal Tumblr if he didn’t cease and desist.
The startup’s new approach is more Zen. From the reply that’s being sent to concerned users:
We obviously don’t want to take any punitive action on your account unless you’re doing something really bad. Anyone saying that “your blog is going to be deleted for X” or “reblog this or your account will be suspended” is almost certainly a troll. Suspensions usually happen because of things like spam and impersonation, as discussed more in our new Community Guidelines. We try to apply all of these policies with a tremendous amount of care and fairness.
The bigger consideration is that, as long as a developer is hacking Tumblr rather than using our developer tools, there’s no guarantee that those hacks will keep working properly.While we’ve always been within our rights to deny access to anyone making unsupported modifications to Tumblr, we do our best to err on the side of openness. The more enthusiastic developers and happy users, the better.
Loves all around! As is usual with Internet hysteria, Missing e’s clarification post only has a fraction of the attention given to his original wolf-crying: 624 notes.
Tumblr is still accepting feedback for its new terms of service. “While the Community Guidelines have gotten longer, the only new policy in the draft that we weren’t already enforcing is ‘Promotion and Glorification of Self-Harm’. The other additions are meant to clarify our existing policies,” says the staff blog. Tumblr is also putting its terms on Github, where changes will be historically viewable.