this could not be timed worse for Tumblr which is in huge hot water with its userbase already for its CEO breaking his sabbatical to ban a prominent trans user for allegedly threatening him (in a cartoonish manner), and then spending a week personally justifying it increasingly wildly across several platforms. the rumors had already been swirling that this would occur, but this just cements that they were correct

  • For any Tumblr users here, this has already rolled out completely unannounced and is opt-in by default. You need to manually opt out, which can only be done on the desktop website. Odds are good that your data is already being sold to Midjourney and used to train their models.

    To do so, click on your blog on the sidebar, click on Blog Settings on the other sidebar on the right, scroll down to the Visibility section, and turn the “Prevent third-party sharing for [your blog]” toggle to ON, not off. If you have any sideblogs, you’ll need to manually do this for each of them as well. It’s per blog and not account-wide.

    • @SoupBrick@yiffit.net
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      3 months ago

      I was able to do it from the app and it was already on. I don’t remember turning it on, so it might be default?

      Edit: Just remembered that I did update the app today, so you might need to do that first.

      • katy ✨
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        103 months ago

        it’s also at blog settings > visibility on desktop

      • They made an announcement at some point after flipping the switch that noted that some people would be opted out by default based on their blog settings. I think if your blog is set to mature or has certain search parameters turned off already.

        It wasn’t on for me or several artists I sent messages to who hadn’t even heard that this had happened, and the general discourse around it was pretty clearly upset about it not being opt out by default.

        They must’ve updated the app; at the time I wrote that you couldn’t do it through the app.

      • Mannivu
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        23 months ago

        I’ve found out that even in Wordpress is opt-out Wordpress setting for AI opt-out

          • @jarfil@beehaw.org
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            23 months ago

            Pretty much, yes. The GDPR allows users to access, modify, and delete their own content. The TOS license all user content to Reddit. There might be a conflict if they try to sell previously licensed content that a user has blanked or requested to be removed, not sure how that one would work out, but any content still on Reddit is fair game.

            I’m guessing Tumblr and WordPress have similar licensing clauses ok their TOS.

      • If they hadn’t given people the option, I don’t think the site would be up today. I already saw one artist who wiped their account and left the site within a couple of hours of the announcement.

        And they couldn’t have picked a worse time to do this after the drama with the CEO banning a popular trans woman permanently off the site last week and threatening to sic the FBI on her for a “threat” of cartoon violence she made after the year-long harassment campaign she suffered had been ignored leading up to her being banned over a transition timeline picture of her face. The CEO then went on to spend hours going into trans women’s dms to insist how he’s not a transphobe after writing a post about how she had been banned for the “threat,” not the picture, even though it had been known for a while by that point that she had been banned for that photo being “nsfw/sexual content,” while he eventually started calling her “it.” He then topped it off by chasing her and harassing her on Twitter, still insisting that her wishing cartoon violence was a tangible threat and posting the names of accounts she had had at various times on Tumblr. All while he was supposed to be on a 3-month vacation.

        Between that and the rumors of this AI deal happening that popped up last week as well, people were already looking for alternative platforms. Allowing people to opt out is the least that they can do if they don’t want to run off the users who keep the site running. I don’t think many of them are happy that they even have to do that.

  • TWeaK
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    3 months ago

    Class actions need to be made. Not just against AI, but Facebook, Google, Microsoft, banks… Basically anyone who collects data for profit while slipping it in as a secondary transaction in the terms and conditions, without providing any consideration.

    The data brokerage industry is a $400bn industry, yet there are only 8bn people in the world. Even if we assume everyone is online and everyone’s data is of equal value (both are far from true), that means an individual’s data is worth at least $50 per year on the market. These are just people buying and selling data, and does not include companies that keep proprietary datasets and only sell advertising, or the value of peoples’ written works online (which is likely of even greater value). Businesses are now selling off our copyrighted work for far less than its worth, all the while not paying the creator their rightful dues.

    It simply isn’t the case that data is traded for access to the website or service. That isn’t how the transaction is presented. Front and centre, the services are offered free of charge (or sometimes, eg with Microsoft, you already pay for the service) and then a second transaction is buried in the fine print in obscure language. The entire purpose of this is deception, so the user does not understand the value they are giving up, and so as to deny them a fair opportunity to assess any supposed value exchange - because it isn’t an exchange, you’re giving it up for free, just like they give you access for free. It’s two separate transactions deceptively run parallel.

    You can’t build a car without paying for the nuts and bolts. They steal the nuts and bolts we produce and then sell them on as their own products.

    Edit: weird formatting issues from posting with low signal.

    • @dutchkimble@lemy.lol
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      33 months ago

      I agree completely, it is ridiculous and should be stopped immediately, but I don’t see a way this problem can be fixed. EU is trying, for example after GDPR all these cookies became horrendously annoying. What you’re suggesting will lead to clearer and possibly lengthier EULA or TOS documents but in essence we would still have to either agree with them or not use that service. While a lot of open source and self hosted options exist to replicate many of the services, but you can’t rely yet on that for everything.

      You can sure as hell double down on strict privacy settings and use a lot of privacy friendly options like librewolf, mull, private dns, nextcloud, matrix/jabber, VPNs, immich, better search engines, Open street maps, and OSes like arch and Graphene.

      • TWeaK
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        23 months ago

        The EU is trying to legitimise it, which is completely the wrong take.

        I think one of either two courses of action should be taken by lawmakers. Either:

        1. Data collection must be made open, such that anyone can access the data (but processing of data can be proprietary), or,
        2. Websites should pay people for the data they take.

        Data has value, it is completely unacceptable that this value is taken without consideration.

    • @jarfil@beehaw.org
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      23 months ago

      There is no hidden transaction, you signed up for a service to:

      • Upload your content so they send copies to whoever asks.

      In exchange, they used to show you ads, and that was fair. Then, they started collecting your browsing data and selling that too… that is a second transaction, and got regulated. Now, they are selling a service of bundling together the content people asked them to share in the first place.

      In your analogy, you asked them to send your nuts and bolts for free. In exchange, they advertised stuff to you. Then they started collecting the addresses of your clients… that was not fine. Now, they’re throwing nuts and bolts from multiple people into a box and selling it as a “sampler kit”, nuts and bolts you did ask them to send for free.

      Did you not understand the value of your product? Maybe, but you asked them to do it anyway… and you’re doing the same by posting content right here. 🤷

      • TWeaK
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        23 months ago

        It is a hidden transaction. They try to argue it both ways, that it’s an exchange of access for data, but then they hide the data in the fine print. When you buy something, the price isn’t in the fine print, it’s front and centre. When you buy insurance, they have to provide a “key facts page” where they detail what you’re paying for in general terms. The key parts being exchanged are supposed to be at the forefront, not hidden in the terms and conditions.

        People don’t understand the value of their product because businesses hide that part in the terms and conditions to inhibit their ability to properly assess the value.

        In your analogy, you asked them to send your nuts and bolts for free. In exchange, they advertised stuff to you. Then they started collecting the addresses of your clients… that was not fine. Now, they’re throwing nuts and bolts from multiple people into a box and selling it as a “sampler kit”, nuts and bolts you did ask them to send for free.

        I didn’t ask them, they advertised their service in bright lights saying it was free. Then, the fine print at the point of entry says they can pick the pockets of their guests.

        You really are trying to advocate for the devil here, and I think if you take a step back you’ll see that you’re just parroting the same arguments they make. Such arguments have not been properly challenged yet, but if you stack them up against the core principles of contract law - through which all trade is conducted - they are clearly wrong.

    • FaceDeer
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      263 months ago

      They’re giving you services in exchange for your contents.

      Does nobody even think about TOS any more? You don’t have to read any specific one, just realize the basic universal truth that no website is going to accept your contents without some kind of legal protection that allows them to use that content.

        • FaceDeer
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          3 months ago

          Are you serious? We’re speaking in the Fediverse right now. It’s notable in its difference. Though instances have their own TOSes, so it’d be pretty trivial to set one up to harvest content for AI training as well.

          • @eveninghere@beehaw.org
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            13 months ago

            What I meant is that the data generally belong to the user on Fediverse, and your original comment ignored that.

            • FaceDeer
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              23 months ago

              A user’s data still belongs to the user when they post it on sites like Reddit and such, too. The ToS doesn’t take ownership away from them, at least not in any case that I’ve seen. It just gives the site the license to use it as well.

              • @eveninghere@beehaw.org
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                I mean, even if that’s tue, I don’t count it as “ownership” if they change the monetization scheme for what I wrote, without giving me a good chance to say what I get in return. Reddit even allegedly put back comments which users deleted.

                It’s near-impossible to delete all my own comments on Reddit, for example.

                • FaceDeer
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                  13 months ago

                  It’s true, go ahead and read the ToS. It only grants a license to Reddit to use your content. It explicitly says:

                  You retain any ownership rights you have in Your Content, but you grant Reddit the following license to use that Content:

                  And then goes on to enumerate what you’re licensing them to do with it. There’s also a section titled “Changes to these Terms” about how they can change the ToS going forward.

      • garrett
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        53 months ago

        You pay for WordPress.com though. That’s crazy to offer a paid service and use that data in AI training.

        • FaceDeer
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          83 months ago

          Hardly. They earn money by being paid by their users, but they can earn more money by being paid by their users and also selling their users’ data. The goal is more money, so it makes sense for them to do that. It’s not crazy.

          From the WordPress Terms of Service:

          License. By uploading or sharing Content, you grant us a worldwide, royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, and non-exclusive license to use, reproduce, modify, distribute, adapt, publicly display, and publish the Content solely for the purpose of providing and improving our products and Services and promoting your website. This license also allows us to make any publicly-posted Content available to select third parties (through Firehose, for example) so that these third parties can analyze and distribute (but not publicly display) the Content through their services.

          Emphasis added. They told you what they could do with the content you gave them, you just didn’t listen.

          I’m sorry if I’m coming across harsh here, but I’m seeing this same error being made over and over again. It’s being made frequently right now thanks to the big shakeups happening in social media and the sudden rise of AI, but I’ve seen it sporadically over the decades that I’ve been online. So it bears driving home:

          • If you are about to give your content to a website, check their terms of service before you do to see if you’re willing to agree to their terms, and if you don’t agree to their terms then don’t give your content to a website. It’s true that some ToS clauses may not be legally enforceable, but are you willing to fight that in court? If you didn’t consider your content valuable enough to spend the time checking the ToS when you posted it, that’s not WordPress’s fault.
          • If you give someone something and they later find a way to make the thing you gave them valuable, it’s too late. You gave it to them. They don’t owe you a “cut.” Check the terms of service.
          • garrett
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            73 months ago

            While you’re not wrong, the social contract we’ve adapted to is that paying means you have some sense of ownership. It’s unreasonable to expect folks to read every Terms of Service with their legalese. Perhaps the new reality we need to accept is that there is no such thing as a good actor on the internet.

            • FaceDeer
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              23 months ago

              Well, a large part of my frustration stems from the “I’ve seen this for decades” part - longer than many of the people who are now raising a ruckus have been alive. So IMO it’s always been this way and the “social contract we’ve adapted to” is “the social contract that we imagined existed despite there being ample evidence there was no such thing.” I’m so tired of the surprised-pikachu reactions.

              Combined with the selfish “wait a minute, the stuff I gave away for fun is worth money to someone else now? I want money too! Or I’m going to destroy my stuff so that nobody gets any value out of it!” Reactions, I find myself bizarrely ambivalent and not exactly on the side of the common man vs. the big evil corporations this time.

              • garrett
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                33 months ago

                I don’t really disagree with you at all but repeatedly reminding us all that you’re “not surprised” isn’t the savvy commentary you think it is. Especially since it’s historically been the case that any service you pay money to has said “no, you own your content”.

                The marker has just moved gradually on this with companies slowly adding more ownership clauses to their Terms of Service in ways that aren’t legible to average consumers. Now they’re cashing in on that ownership.

                • FaceDeer
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                  I’m just venting, really. I know it’s not going to make a real difference.

                  I suppose if you go waaaay back it was different, true. Back in the days of Usenet (as a discussion forum rather than as the piracy filesharing system it’s mostly used for nowadays) there weren’t these sorts of ToS on it and everything got freely archived in numerous different places because that’s just how it was. It was the first Fediverse, I suppose.

                  The ironic thing is that kbin.social’s ToS has no “ownership” stuff in it either. For now, at least, the new ActivityPub-based Fediverse is in the same position that Usenet was - I assume a lot of the other instances also don’t bother with much of a ToS and the posts get shared around beyond any one instance’s control anyway. So maybe this grumpy old-timer may get to see a bit of the good old days return, for a little while. That’ll be nice.

              • @jarfil@beehaw.org
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                13 months ago

                I’m going to destroy my stuff so that nobody gets any value out of it!

                I started blanking my Reddit history when they started banning me by retroactively applying new content rules to 10 years old comments… and somewhat hilariously, sold the few MOONs generated from some of that content, so effectively got paid for blank content. 😙🎶

    • @jarfil@beehaw.org
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      23 months ago

      No, and no, and no:

      • If a user wants to assign ownership to a company, that’s their right.
      • These companies DO NOT ask for ownership, they only license the content (ownership carries responsibilities, they don’t want those).
      • Whether a user wants to get paid or not, is again up to them (see the various OpenSource and CC licenses).
      • @eveninghere@beehaw.org
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        23 months ago

        Hard disagree.

        • Companies don’t give you a good chance to prevent them from eroding your control on the data further.
        • Even if they technically disown the data, they’re doing even worse. They are de-facto doing anything they want without taking responsibility
        • Open source / CC licenses don’t apply to whatever user data people are talking about here
  • Computerchairgeneral
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    173 months ago

    So after banning adult content a few years ago, Tumblr decided to shoot itself in the other foot? It feels like the people in charge are actively trying to drive off the site’s users.

    • FlumPHP
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      183 months ago

      Fun fact, it’s been two different groups of people in charge! Yahoo! was responsible for removing adult content and then sold it to Automattic for pennies on the dollar. Automattic then went through several rounds of different poor moderation before the CEO himself stepped up to share GDPR violating information on Twitter. Now we’re adding AI!

  • max
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    163 months ago

    is there a real fediverse alternative to tumblr yet? i did hear that tumblr was working on activitypub support… but this shows the opposite intentions :<

    • JeenaA
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      123 months ago

      That is not opposite, they just want to pull in data from the fediverse automatically so that they can sell it too.

      We need some explicit licensing of our public fediverse data otherwise it will just be used to sell it back to us.

      • tree
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        53 months ago

        Yeah I’ve seen almost no movement against Tumblr while everyone got very riled up about Meta federation ie fedipact, probably a blindspot bc users have positive associations with tumblr, but it’s still an ad/data company all the same.

          • tree
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            13 months ago

            The obvious difference being my/others mastodon posts aren’t showing up on wordpress and being monetized. One way federation to masto doesn’t matter bc it isn’t data farming / putting ads on masto content.

    • fracture [he/him]
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      it’s not federated or open, but cohost is a tumblr-alternative run by a group of queer devs who promise not to sell the company or your data. i don’t blame you if you don’t buy into it, but i do like the platform

      https://cohost.org/rc/welcome

      edit: based on what /u/FaceDeer@kbin.social has mentioned about the TOS, as well as further elaboration i found in a thread about it (https://twitter.com/rahaeli/status/1588769277053739010), i don’t think i can responsibly advocate for cohost, even as a closed/private alternative to tumblr

      • FaceDeer
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        83 months ago

        I wouldn’t really trust that promise, frankly. I just checked their terms of service and it has the usual clause:

        You must own all rights, title, and interest, including all intellectual property rights, in and to, the User Content you make available on the Services. ASSC requires licenses from you for that User Content to operate the Services. By posting User Content on the Services, you grant ASSC a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, sublicensable, worldwide license to use, reproduce, distribute, perform, publicly display or prepare derivative works of your User Content.

        Which isn’t really surprising, it’s standard boilerplate for a reason. They don’t want to be caught in a situation where they can’t function legally any more. They say they won’t sell the company or your data, and they might even believe that right now, but who knows what the future might bring? They have the ability to do so if the circumstances arise.

        • fracture [he/him]
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          23 months ago

          is there a way they could protect themselves (“still legally be able to function”) without that clause?

          • FaceDeer
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            23 months ago

            You could ask a lawyer, I suppose. But the basic gist of this is “we don’t know what we might need to do with this data in the future, so we put ‘we can do anything with this data’ into the ToS so that we know that if the need arises we won’t find ourselves unable to do what we need to do with it.” Any website that doesn’t do this could find itself unable to implement new features or comply with new laws they didn’t think of when crafting the original ToS.

            At the very minimum a ToS needs to have some way to update and apply retroactively to old data, which ends up being “we can do anything with this data” with extra steps.

            • fracture [he/him]
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              13 months ago

              thanks for sharing this information with us, i think it’s important to discuss this stuff on the fediverse

              i notice that beehaw doesn’t have a similar clause in its TOS, as far as i can tell. without the expectation of you answering this question, i’m wondering what the difference is between the two such that cohost has such a clause and beehaw doesn’t. maybe it’s because one is run by an individual and one is run by a small company?

              i did a search on cohost itself to see if anyone else talked about this and found this quite extensive thread: https://twitter.com/rahaeli/status/1588769277053739010

              so based on what you’ve said and what’s in that thread, i’m gonna update my post with some qualifications about cohost. thanks for piqing my interest in the TOS

              • FaceDeer
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                23 months ago

                No problem. I’m not a lawyer myself, mind you, but I’ve encountered issues like these enough times over the years that I feel I’ve got a pretty good layman’s grasp. Plus I’ve actually read some of these ToSes and considered them from the perspective of the company running the site, which I suspect most people arguing about this stuff haven’t actually done.

                I wish the Fediverse sites running without rigorous ToSes well, of course, but I suspect failing to establish clear rights to use the content people post on them is likely to end up biting them in the long run. At least the bigger ones. Hobby-level websites get away with a lot because they don’t have significant money on the line.

      • max
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        53 months ago

        i do know cohost, but id prefer fediversed and foss stuff ideally cuz like walled gardens n stuff >w<

    • petrescatraian
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      33 months ago

      @alyaza @kittykittycatboys Friendica, to some degree. It’s pretty flexible, and you can have something like a basic blog. You do depend on the server admin to install the themes that you need, if they’re not present. Once they’re installed, you can switch between them at will.

      There is even a Tumblr add-on if there’s anyone you need to follow there.

      • max
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        23 months ago

        hmm ill take a look, though idk it sounds a bit like a facebook clone and thats not what im looking for, but thanks for ur help !! :3

        • petrescatraian
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          13 months ago

          @kittykittycatboys Friendica is more like Facebook FWIW, indeed, but it pretty much wants to have all the tools required for a long-form posting social network 😁

          You can format your posts, you can add a title to them if you want, supports various media inline etc.

  • petrescatraian
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    103 months ago

    @alyaza Freaking hell, is there any more mainstream social media platform left that does not and does not plan to sell your data to an AI already?!? *sigh*

    • @helenslunch@feddit.nl
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      53 months ago

      Why wouldn’t they?

      This is the thing about your personal data; once it’s out there you’re never getting it back or removing it.

      • petrescatraian
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        13 months ago

        @helenslunch Heh, I beg to differ about removing, I’d sure want it removed from time to time, don’t know what they’re thinking.

        Just that when I originally signed up for these services, I did it not with the intent of feeding data to a piece of software that would fundamentally influence our decisions.

        But hey, tech companies gotta tech company…

        • @helenslunch@feddit.nl
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          23 months ago

          You don’t have to tag me. I can see it when you reply to me.

          I’d sure want it removed from time to time

          What you want and reality are unfortunately not the same thing.

  • Rozaŭtuno
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    3 months ago

    This sucks, but I’m also morbidly curious of how unhinged an AI trained on Tumblr posts would be.

  • katy ✨
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    63 months ago

    sincerely considering spinning up a sharkey instance as a tumblr alternative because fuck tumblr

  • @survivalmachine@beehaw.org
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    23 months ago

    I don’t know what Train AI Tools are, but I’d be ok with them if they had the temperament of Thomas the Train rather than Blain the Mono. How do we know which Train AI is buying our data?

  • garrett
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    13 months ago

    It stinks that what seems like the most critical reporting lands behind paywalls.