Tumblr Briefly Became a New Hub for Banned 3D Printed Gun Group

- Sep 04, 2019-

Although Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit, have all banned 3D printed gun groups, it seems microblogging site Tumblr was still open for business — briefly.

Deterrence Dispensed, a group advocating the use of homemade firearms, got a Tumblr page created in July on the site created by its leader, IvanTheTroll. It was posting weekly and shared updates on gun construction, including blueprints which people can use to print their own guns at home, until their account was deleted a couple days ago.

Social platforms have been asked by democratic lawmakers to stop plans being shared. 3D printed guns can be made cheaply from plastic and don’t have serial numbers, which makes them untraceable. Although 3D printing gun parts isn’t illegal in many states, spreading information and blueprints can be.

3D Printed Guns, But No Nipples

It’s not the first time 3D printed gun advocates like IvanTheTroll and the group Deterrence Dispensed have seen content removed from other platforms. And initially, their stint on Tumblr was allowed, perhaps because the site does not have a policy against the distribution of 3D-printed gun plans. What the site does have a policy on, however, is all “adult” content, which has been banned since the end of 2018.

Tumblr wasn’t always such a small site. In 2013, it was full of promise. Yahoo purchased it in 2013 for $1.1 billion. In fact, Deterrence Dispensed used the social media platform when it first began sharing updates before it was stopped in 2016. A few years later, after banning adult content, Tumblr lost a third of its users.

And just a few weeks ago, the parent company of WordPress, Automattic, bought Tumblr for only $20 million. Matt Mullenweg, the CEO of Automattic, plans to moderate content more closely.

He told the New York Times that he will be striving to strike “a really good balance between nurturing the type of conversation and communities and user experience that you want people to have while still allowing for a wide variety of expression.”