Tumblr Visits Plummet Months After Adult Content Ban

Photo by Matt Wildbore on Unsplash

Tumblr is in some trouble!

Last year, Tumblr announced that it was banning all adult content in users’ photos and videos. At the time, the story trended all over the internet with many foretelling the end of the blogging website. And now, it looks like that future is more possible than ever before.


Several statistics have come in recently to reveal that the site’s viewer base and number of visitors has dropped since December. Statista reports that by January 2019, 437 million visited Tumblr opposed to the 642 million in July of 2018. The Verge confirms this drop in numbers with its own report. A web analytics firm spoke to the Verge and says that the global traffic for Tumblr in December was around 521 million, but then dropped to 370 million by February.

Of course, 437 million or 370 million is still a lot of visits, but it’s also a 30 percent drop in traffic since this NSFW ban.

Photo by Neringa Šidlauskaitė on Unsplash

Keep in mind, the NSFW ban wasn’t a site wide censor. There is still plenty of adult content found on the site. First, there are several images and videos that have yet to be flagged down. This is mostly because the ban is being enforced by an automated system. In addition, “adult content” was only focused on visual content from the beginning.


The site’s standards define adult content as follows:

“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.”

Due to this, there is plenty of textual content, such as written pornography, that was never intended for the ban in the first place. As such, what Tumblr’s company has labeled as an “Adult Ban” is really a half-assed crusade. It seems this NSFW ban has been sporadic and unorganized since its reveal last year.

At the end of the day, this ban wasn’t about improving the experience of users, but to protect Tumblr after it was punished by the Apple Store for allowing child pornography on its program. Since then, the company has been punishing users for its own mistakes. And now, 30% of those users have left in protest.

h/t: Statista, The Verge

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