Skip to main content

After the porn ban, Tumblr users have ditched the platform as promised

After the porn ban, Tumblr users have ditched the platform as promised


Tumblr has lost 30 percent of web traffic since December

Share this story

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Since Tumblr announced its porn ban in December, many users reacted by explaining that they mainly used the site for browsing not-safe-for-work content, and they threatened to leave the platform if the ban were enforced. It now appears that many users have made good on that threat: Tumblr’s traffic has dropped nearly 30 percent since December.

Tumblr’s global traffic in December clocked in at 521 million, but it had dropped to 370 million by February, web analytics firm SimilarWeb tells The Verge. Statista reports a similar trend in the number of unique visitors. By January 2019, only over 437 million visited Tumblr, compared to a high of 642 million visitors in July 2018.

The ban removed explicit posts from public view, including any media that portrayed sex acts, exposed genitals, and “female-presenting” nipples. Some users say enforcement of the ban has been spotty — one user wrote into The Verge to say that they’re still seeing porn on the platform — but even so, users have apparently left Tumblr in droves. We know that the platform was mainly known for its NSFW content, which was often not just porn that could be found on any number of alternative sites. It also included unique communities that discussed sexuality in healthy ways.

On December 3rd, when Tumblr first told The Verge that it would ban porn by the 17th, CEO Jeff D’Onofrio said in a statement at the time that users had other options. “There are no shortage of sites on the internet that feature adult content,” he said. It looks like users have taken D’Onofrio up on his offer and gone to other sites.