Having just been sold Verizon and facing threats from Apple to have the app removed from their store, the micro-blogging site made the highly controversial move to ban adult content from their platform. This triggered a mass exodus of NSFW artists, creators and sex workers that had previously flourished among Tumblr's user base, migrating to other platforms such as Twitter and OnlyFans.
The move would go on to signal the beginning of the end for Tumblr, losing 30% of its monthly page views in the span of three months. The platform would go on to be sold to Wordpress' parent company Automatic in 2019, reportedly for less than $3 million, a fraction of the $1.1 billion Yahoo! initially acquired them for in 2013. It was a spectacular fall from grace for a site that had played home to so many niche and fandom communities over the better part of the last decade and ultimately left many adult content creators disenfranchised.
Now, it seems like Tumblr may be looking to reverse course. Back in September, the platform introduced their new "community labels" feature which allows users to tag posts featuring drug and alcohol addiction, violence and sexual content. A staff member reblogged the announcement, commenting “OK, didn’t everyone want ‘females presenting nipples’ back on Tumblr? Here you are. This is it,” referencing one of the more memed parts of the community guidelines that were rolled out as a part of the initial porn ban.
What's even more promising is that Tumblr, as of October 31, has formally changed its rules on nudity. “We now welcome a broader range of expression, creativity, and art on Tumblr, including content depicting the human form (yes, that includes the naked human form)," Tumblr staff wrote in the announcement. "So, even if your creations contain nudity, mature subject matter or sexual themes, you can now share them on Tumblr using the appropriate Community Label.”
Unfortunately, Tumblr's updated policy seems to stop just short of allowing porn back on the platform, clarifying that “visual depictions of sexually explicit acts remain off-limits." So basically, tasteful nudes are back on the table but full-on fucking is still a no-go.
Automatic CEO, Matt Mullenweg, admitted in September that a full lifting of the porn ban was likely due to the fact that many internet infrastructure services such as payment processors and app stores tend to look down on most adult content (despite a large part of the internet being made up of it). Mullenweg did say that he hoped to align Tumblr's policy with one similar to Wordpress which allows some nudity in art but bans outright sexually explicit content. Ultimately, Mullenweg hoped that an alternative service or company would one day come along to fill the hole that Tumblr porn left behind on the internet.
Photo via Getty/Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket
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