Tumblr Bans Porn, And Now One Fifth Of Its Users Have Ditched The Platform

Esther VargasFlickr

Tumblr banned pornography from its platform a few months ago, and since that time, it has lost about 20 percent of its traffic and users, The Independent is reporting.

The social media and microblogging platform banned all sexually explicit images back on December 17, 2018, after finding that some of the posts on the site contained images of child sexual abuse.

As The Hill reported at the time, Tumblr made the decision after Apple’s App Store removed the app due to the presence of child pornography on the site. Weeks later, Tumblr announced the decision to ban all adult content, including “photos, videos, or GIFs that show real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples, and any content — including photos, videos, GIFs and illustrations — that depicts sex acts.”

And as for child pornography, Tumblr noted in a statement that all content posted to the site was scanned against a database of known child pornography images and removed in the case of a match. However, the statement noted that some images still got through, likely due to the images not yet having been included in the database.

To err on the side of caution, Tumblr simply banned all sexually-explicit images, movies, and GIFs.

The decision didn’t sit well with some users, in particular, LGBTQ users. As Pink News reported at the time, using the hashtag #logoffprotest, queer individuals began ditching the site in protest. One user said that they were doing so because Tumblr was inconsistently enforcing its Terms of Service while simultaneously silencing LGBTQ voices.

“You know what day it is? It’s the day @tumblr updates their policies to silence artists, LGBT+ people and everyone trying to make their comfortable little corner in the internet. Meanwhile the problem they are trying to solve is not going anywhere.”

The boycott seems to have worked: according to data from web analytics firm SimilarWeb, Tumblr’s traffic in January 2019 was 20 percent lower than it was the previous month, with 521 million hits in December to 437 million in January.

Meanwhile, Tumblr continues to insist that it isn’t trying to silence LGBTQ voices.

“Tumblr will always be a place to explore your identity… We fully recognise Tumblr’s special obligation to [marginalized] communities and are committed to ensuring that our new policy on adult content does not silence the vital conversations that take place here every day.”

The platform also noted that its pornography ban does not extend to text, such as conversations or erotic stories, and that such content will still be allowed.