The microblogging platform has reversed its 2018 decision to censor all nudity on the app, although its infamous ban on porn remains in place
Tumblr’s death knell sounded back in 2018, when the site infamously banned adult content. “There are no shortage of sites on the internet that feature adult content,” CEO Jeff D’Onofrio said at the time.
The site’s popularity quickly tanked: in the three months following the platform lost 30 per cent of its monthly page views. In 2019, the site was sold to WordPress owner Automattic for less than $3 million – a seismic drop compared to the $1.1 billion Yahoo paid for it in 2013. It was a decision which adversely harmed adult content creators too, whose content was excessively suppressed.
Now, it appears as though Tumblr is hoping to turn back the clock. The platform first announced a new “community labels” feature back in September which allowed users to tag their own posts that feature depictions of drug and alcohol addiction, violence and sexual content. Then a staff member reblogged the community labels announcement, writing “OK, didn’t everyone want ‘females presenting nipples’ back on Tumblr? Here you are. This is it.”
Now, as of October 31, it’s finally formally changed its rules to allow nudity on the platform once more. In a company announcement posted on Tuesday, Tumblr staff wrote: “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).”
“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.”
However – sadly, this doesn’t include porn. “Visual depictions of sexually explicit acts remain off-limits on Tumblr,” the guidelines state.
Matt Mullenweg, Automattic CEO, said in late September that totally overhauling the ban wasn’t feasible – largely because internet infrastructure services frown upon explicit adult content. That said, Mullenweg said that he hoped to make Tumblr’s policy more similar to that of WordPress, where sexually explicit content is also banned but nudity in art is permitted. “I do hope that a dedicated service or company is started that will replace what people used to get from porn on Tumblr,” Mullenweg said.