After Verizon Ruined Tumblr, Who Will Come In And Save It

Published on May 3, 2019

Verizon is apparently seeking to sell its massive blogging platform, Tumblr. The decision comes after making massive changes to its terms of use policies in recent months. Tumblr announced that it would be banning any NSFW content starting late last year. It would be implementing AI to look for posts that violate the new restrictions.

The popular blogging platform has been a major source of internet content for years now, and much of that popularity is a direct result of its “anything goes” terms of use agreement that its users are subject to. Now that Verizon is looking to sell the company, it seems likely that the NSFW ban would be reversed.

Adult Content Ban

When Verizon opted to ban NSFW content from its uber popular blogging site Tumblr just a few months ago, both users and experts worried that it would be an irreversible mistake for the social networking platform. Though Tumblr isn’t technically an adult-content website, the algorithm that determines what NSFW content gets banned doesn’t work quite as well as developers had initially hoped.

Much of Tumblr’s user platform relies on being able to share art and other creative projects. This often includes content that would otherwise be considered NSFW. With new terms of use in effect, the ban on adult content impacted much more than Tumblr’s adult content blogs. With billions of blog posts and millions of blogs under its belt, Tumblr is struggling to maintain its position atop the cultural zeitgeist of internet hot spots.

The decision to ban adult content created a massive shift in traffic for Tumblr. The site lost roughly 30% of its web traffic in the months following the implementation of AI that would comb the site for potentially pornographic material. Critics and Tumblr users were quick to demonize the company over this decision. Even companies like PornHub took no time at all to draw in the potential traffic that would be leaving Tumblr.


Tumblr’s ownership has been jumping around for quite some time now. Yahoo purchased the blogging website back in 2013 for $1.1 billion. This was the company’s attempt to create a space for young web users to create and share creative material. Twitter and Instagram were becoming heavily marketable tools for businesses. But Tumblr had the potential to become a place where young people could go to create and share ideas with their peers.

Then, Verizon purchased Yahoo in a $4.5 billion acquision. The purchase handed the Tumblr keys over to Verizon in 2017. However, a massive round of layoffs and company changes for Verizon  were made shortly after . This made the company second guess whether Tumblr would be part of its arsenal of companies in the future. The downsizing of Verizon Media Group proves that Verizon may have buyers regret over its 2017 purchase.

PornHub has, unsurprisingly, offered to purchase Tumblr. The company said this after the announcement was made public earlier this week that Verizon is looking to offload the blogging platform. However, no official offers are currently on the table. Tumblr’s NSFW ban could be reversed depending on what company purchases the blogging platform this time around. However, it will take the right buyer.


Julia Sachs is a former Managing Editor at Grit Daily. She covers technology, social media and disinformation. She is based in Utah and before the pandemic she liked to travel.

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