Tumblr Will Ban Adult Content This Month

Illustration: Sam Woolley, GMG

Beginning December 17th, the digital scrapbook Tumblr will ban all visual adult content on its site. It’s the latest step in the platform’s struggle with adult content.

Tumblr’s new community guidelines are very specific. “Adult content primarily includes 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,” the company wrote today in a blog post about the community guideline changes. Images of nipples related to breastfeeding, birth or images from after birth, or “health-related situations” will be allowed, as will written erotica, nudity related to newsworthy events, and “nudity found in art.”

Tumblr has been struggling with adult content. On November 16th, Tumblr’s app was removed from the iOS store. The company, owned by Yahoo, confirmed that the removal of the app was related to child pornography being uploaded to Tumblr.

“Every image uploaded to Tumblr is scanned against an industry database of known child sexual abuse material, and images that are detected never reach the platform. A routine audit discovered content on our platform that had not yet been included in the industry database. We immediately removed this content,” Tumblr wrote in a blog post, adding, “We’re continuously assessing further steps we can take to improve and there is no higher priority for our team.”

One of those further steps, it seems, is removing adult content from Tumblr wholesale.

In an email a spokesperson from Tumblr clarified that the removal of adult content was not related to the app’s removal from the iOS store.

While the move is good for Tumblr overall—the spam bots that post pornography have been a persistent problem on the platform, and removing child pornography is not just a legal obligation but an ethical one—a similar crackdown on adult content preceded a mass exodus of the fandom userbase from LiveJournal in 2007. After a few popular fandom journals and communities were deactivated, members of the larger fannish community created the new journaling service Dreamwidth, as well as the fanfiction hosting service Archive Of Our Own. Others migrated to Tumblr.

As competitors like Pillowfort and Are.na are chomping at Tumblr’s heels, time will tell if this move leads to another fandom migration.


    I didn't know there was anything on Tumblr EXCEPT adult content.

    Where will I find my snapchat nudes blogs now

      I'm sure you'll find another site that has the content you desire. I've heard there's a few out there.

    The only reason this is because some idiots got SESTA/FOSTA laws through in the US.

    Anyone got any recommendations for apps with random content to scroll through on the train?

      The web browser? It seems unlikely that Google or Apple will remove that one :-)

      Reddit surely has a subreddit that would interest you.

      Try the Binky app.

    Why was there child porn on there, isn't that stuff all super secret on the dark web?

    Complete morons if they were posting it on public sites. Hope they were tracked down.

    Well my bookmarks and search history are going to be a hell of a lot cleaner.

    Can anyone recommend another free source?

    I'm male-kin but have very feminine (perky) nipples. Do you think Tumblr can provide an inclusive space for me? I won't dox my pronouns but I like dancing to Goodbye Horses.

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