Tumblr, the online blogging site owned by Verizon since its July 2016 acquisition of Yahoo, will ban adult content beginning Dec. 17, 2018.
The site, founded in 2007, makes the move about three weeks after its app was removed from Apple's App Store following some child sex abuse content appearing on Tumblr.
Even though the site works with groups including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to screen uploaded material, some content got on the site. After it was spotted, "we immediately removed this content," Tumblr said in an update posted on its site. "Content safeguards are a challenging aspect of operating scaled platforms. We’re continuously assessing further steps we can take to improve and there is no higher priority for our team."
Now, Tumblr says it will move to ban all adult content as of Dec. 17, including photos of genitalia, as well as photos, videos, illustrations and GIFs of sex acts.
"We spent considerable time weighing the pros and cons of expression in the community that includes adult content," Tumblr CEO Jeff D’Onofrio wrote in a post on the site. "In doing so, it became clear that without this content we have the opportunity to create a place where more people feel comfortable expressing themselves."
Quickly, an online backlash ensued and the hashtag #tumblrisdead emerged on Twitter. "The place served as a great site for underground artists of all content - including those who like SEX," offered one poster.
Tumblr's ability to offer "the mix of images representing ALL ones life interests" made it unique, said another Twitter poster. Now "it won't fulfill an important part of life," he continued.
Tumblr "was the last place on the internet that wasn't restrictive," said another. "Very sad loss for the Internet."
This is the second major development quashing adult content in several days. Starbucks on Thursday said that starting in 2019, it will have new filters in place to prevent customers using its in-store Wi-Fi from accessing explicit content.
But the site has remained active with 449.2 million blogs and, according to its statistics, had more than 32.4 million posts on Monday.