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

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.

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So that’s second internet product Verizon has run into the ground since the AOL/Yahoo merger. What’s next? AutoBlog? Yahoo Finance? Yahoo was better off independent.

AOL and Yahoo were dead long before Verizon merged with them lol

I don’t think Verizon cares one bit about Tumblr and how many users it has.

Hm pretty sure number of users Tumblr has directly correlates to how much money Tumblr makes though.

Then why buy it?

my tumblr timeline went dead basically as soon as the changeover happened, save for one or two specialty blogs.
sexual content is important to people, especially queer people, and there was a hell of a lot more they could have done to restrict said content from being seen by default/by people who don’t or shouldn’t see it than what they did. in the end, they just wanted us gone because queer people are a liability if they aren’t clean and tidy and perfect.

There’s this idea that discussing sexuality is "inappropriate" or "not safe for (wherever/whoever)", and it’s a bunch of harmful nonsense. There’s an idea in mainstream thinking that any "alternative" (i.e. non-cis or non-straight) sexuality involves nothing more than endless sex, so they forbid children learning about same-sex relationships or sexual diversity or gender diversity even though some of those kids are the very people who’ll be driven to suicide by the feeling that they don’t fit in, that they’re wrong or evil or broken somehow.

We get lumped in with porn because we make straight lawmakers uncomfortable, and they want to pretend that only bad people watch it.

"..so they forbid children learning about same-sex relationships or sexual diversity or gender diversity "

Who’s they? verizon?

In this case, Apple, as its ban of the app is what triggered this cascade of events in the first place. If it’s not squeaky clean, then it’s not on the App Store, and if it’s not on the App Store, then it’s practically worthless to a giant company like Verizon.

We can say that Apple is free to run its platforms as it wishes all we want, but the initial ban serves as a pretty good smoking gun that if your content isn’t culturally family-friendly, then it’s going to be cut off from a large source of revenue.

Are you really saying that Apple, the company whose CEO is a gay man, is moderating the App Store to restrict apps with content about same-sex/transgender topics?

Incorrect, they did say they had the ban in the pipeline for 6 months at least when the ban was put in place, it just accelerated their plans

Well… it was easier for them to ban all explicit content than finding a more efficient way to specifically target child pornography (the real problem here). I don’t think this has anything to do with persecuting any particular group of people. This is just Tumblr being lazy or perhaps pragmatic based on their resources? Filtering visual content on its own is a daunting task from a technical perspective. They clearly weren’t doing a fast enough job at removing the content that did need removal and went the nuclear route instead at the expense of losing a few users.

tumblr should have just made the app exclude all porn and nsfw content, and let the browser access version have all content available to show. Is there some reason that would not have been enough?

This is more of Tumblr’s fault for not giving users another reason to stay. If all you do is take something away and never replace it with something new and exciting, people will leave.

It was Tumblr’s time to die.

I logged in a few times expecting Tumblr would change its mind. Appears millions of others did the same.

This article fails to include the projected lost users had Tumblr maintained their original stance and let Apple remove them from the store. That’s the reason this happened in the first place. It’s incredibly biased to look at a decision between two things and only hone in on the consequence of one of those decisions.

It’s also incredibly biased to only genericaly mention the Apple thing without actually writing what happened. There’s been an incident with Tumblr and child pornography, which is way more specific.

Tumblr just had to fix that and make the platform more secure, period.

Saying "ok sorry we’ll ban every single nsfw content and let’s also ban nipples, art, harmless communities and such" was them being lazy while trying to ride Apple’s…well you know what.

We’re in 2019, everyone’s fighting for various groups rights and we STILL can’t show nipples, genitalia and talk sex like adults on the internet – which is what most of these users did.

Seeing as how I only argued that intentionally omitting instruments leading to the decision is biased, that’s not a very good counterargument. I didn’t even remember the CP situation, so it wasn’t intentionally omitted as you appear to insinuate.

I’m not "insinuating" anything, I’m simply not a native english speaker and probably came off like that. Wasn’t referring to you only tbh, what I meant is that most people supporting that Tumblr move said it had to be done "because child pornography" or "there’s PornHub for that".

Imho the situation is more complicated, Tumblr adult communities will not find a new home on PornHub and there was a lot that could be done to improve rather than saying "ok let’s shut off everything nsfw".

Censoring so much in 2019, and without any middle ground, sounds stupid to me and I feel they handled this really poorly due to laziness + the will to appeal to Apple again..

Filtering visual content is very hard to do at the moment… there’s a reason Google and Facebook have been criticized for having actual people flagging questionable content manually on their platforms. Yes, Tumblr was being lazy by making this decision but I’m sure filtering out porn in general was technically easier to achieve than fine-tuning a solution that could exclusively filter out child pornography effectively. That would’ve taken them a lot of time to perfect… probably years. We’re talking about a minuscule subset of content within that content.

While it’s very easy to view this as censorship this has very little to do with it or persecuting any particular groups of people and more to do with protecting their traffic in the short-term under the circumstances.

The problem is they censored everything NSFW afaik.

That means even communities which people used to explore sexuality, talk about it and maybe find comfort are now gone.

Also, you can’t even show nipples or genitalia which are often found in art since the beginning of it…it feels like they are applying catholic school rules, going blindly into full censor mode without even thinking about improving their platform while also finding a middle ground to let this content exist and these communities acrive.

As I said… to a machine it’s tough to discern what’s just nudity and what’s pornographic. Tumblr’s solution was drastic but it was also the quickest one to tackle the immediate problem they faced. They’re using AI to determine what’s pornographic and what isn’t and I would expect a system of that nature to struggle to tell one from the other (at least during it’s learning stages). Allowing what you mention is tougher than you think within that scenario. It’s not just a matter of ticking a button. It requires a lot of time and that’s something Tumblr didn’t have at hand when they were banned from the App Store.

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