Tumblr announced that it will allow nudity back on its platform — just not “explicit sex.” This ends a torturous four-year boob-and-butt drought for the platform, which banned adult content back in 2018.
Tumblr’s new community guidelines state, “Nudity and other kinds of adult material are generally welcome. We’re not here to judge your art, we just ask that you add a Community Label to your mature content so that people can choose to filter it out of their Dashboard if they prefer.”
However, “visual depictions of sexually explicit acts (or content with an overt focus on genitalia)” are still forbidden, with a carveout for historically significant works of art. Or, uh, whatever this is:
The ballyhooed return of boobs, butts, and other parts was widely celebrated on Tumblr as well as Twitter. Some saw this as a good reason for people frustrated with Twitter under Elon Musk to migrate back to Tumblr.
Twitter has always allowed nudity and porn, but the Washington Post reported this week that the site is now considering paywalling some video content. That means adult creators could have a way to make money through Twitter instead of just using the platform to promote their OnlyFans or other accounts.
The new Tumblr rules that differentiate nudity from sexually explicit content are already causing confusion. One adult content creator who goes by Boring Kate tweeted that a video of hers that’s in a gray area was taken down.
However, creators like Kate who use social media to drive an audience to their paid content on OnlyFans or other sites aren’t sure they’ll make the move away from Twitter. “I started focusing more on Twitter a little before the porn ban happened, just because there were more people on Twitter,” she told BuzzFeed News. “I miss Tumblr (and I don't like Elon), so my hope is that maybe there won't be such a big difference in the size of their user bases in the future.”
The 2018 porn ban came as Tumblr, owned by Verizon at the time, was struggling to avoid being removed from Apple’s App Store over child sexual abuse images. The initial wording of the ban described rejecting “female-presenting nipples,” language that was, of course, roasted by Tumblr’s users. Tumblr had been a haven for nudity and porn (for better and worse), so naturally, users were pissed. Less than a year after the porn ban, Tumblr was sold to Automattic, the company best known for the blogging platform WordPress.
In a Tuesday post on Tumblr, Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg described several business and technical hurdles to having porn on the platform, like processing payments and keeping Tumblr in the App Store. “I am personally extremely libertarian in terms of what consenting adults should be able to share, and I agree with ‘go nuts, show nuts’ in principle,” he wrote, “but the casually porn-friendly era of the early internet is currently impossible.”