Late last year the microblogging platform Tumblr announced a significant change to the site’s policy by banning pornographic content. As of December 17th, 2018, any and all content which falls under the umbrella of “photos, videos, or GIFs that show real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples” was banned from appearing on the site – the primary issue being that, prior to this change, a significant chunk of tumblr’s usage and appeal centered around content falling into these parameters. Though we covered the implications of the ban back when it was first announced, we’re three months in and things are already worse than anticipated.
A report from PinkNews.org shows that, based on data from web analytics site SimilarWeb, Tumblr’s pre-ban traffic of 521 million monthly page views has, in just the three months that the new policies have been in effect for, dropped 29% to its current state of 370 million monthly views:
The site’s decision to ban pornography came in response to the Tumblr app being pulled from the Apple Store due to child pornography being identified on the platform. Tumblr’s solution to ban pornographic content entirely (despite it being the centerpiece for a large number of sub-communities on the site, from sex workers to fandom culture), instead of merely monitoring the type of content posted to the site with a more discerning eye, was unsurprisingly received with controversy by its many users.
Though digital protests have surfaced in the immediate aftermath of the ban, a far simpler solution seems to have surfaced in the months following Tumblr’s adult content exodus—switching to Twitter:
the minute tumblr banned porn is the minute they signed over a million people to twitter and im the proof
— :/ (@gennytheartist_) March 14, 2019
all the porn that once lived on tumblr now lives on twitter and i just- pic.twitter.com/Xdpaa1wXs8
— Tré Melvin (@TreMelvin) March 10, 2019
Despite the significant traffic loss and upset userbase, Tumblr has yet to announce any plans to modify or reverse their decision.