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March 13, 2019

Tumblr Traffic Plunged 30 Percent Since Porn Ban Was Announced

CYBERSPACE—In early December, the popular social media platform Tumblr—which had long provided one of the most welcoming online outlets for adult content and unrestricted sexual expression—announced that starting on December 17, porn would no longer be permitted on the platform, as AVN.com reported.  Tumblr CEO Jeff D’Onofrio attempted to soften the blow for Tumblr users, saying in a statement that “Tumblr is also a place to speak freely about topics like art, sex positivity, your relationships, your sexuality, and your personal journey. We want to make sure that we continue to foster this type of diversity of expression.” But his words may have rung hollow with a large segment of Tumblr users. From December to January, total traffic to the site plunged by nearly 20 percent, according to stats compiled by the internet traffic analysis site SimilarWeb.   In December, according to the SimilarWeb analysis, Tumblr received 521 million visits from internet users. But in January, that number fell to 437 million. That’s a drop of about 16 percent. But the fall continued in February, when Tumblr received 369.6 million visits, another 15 percent plunge—and a drop of almost 30 percent from the start of December, days before the porn ban was announced. Is the drop in Tumblr traffic directly attributable to the porn ban? That question may not be possible to answer with certainty. But a comparison with other social media sites using SimilarWeb data appears to show that Tumblr had showed a much steeper drop in traffic than comparable platforms. Traffic to Twitter, the “microblogging” site that does permit posting of sexually explicit  content, actually rose slightly, by about three percent from December to January, before dropping about 11 percent in February—for a total decline over the two-month period of just eight percent. Reddit, the discussion-group-style social media platform that also allows adult content in certain areas, showed a pattern similar to Twitter’s traffic over the two-month stretch, ticking up by just one percent from December to January.  Then, in February, Reddit traffic dropped 11 percent month-on-month, for a total drop of 10 percent from the start of December—just one-third the size of the traffic plunge suffered by Tumblr since announcing its porn ban. A Change.org online petition posted at the beginning of December has so far collected more than 602,000 digital signatures. Photo by Tumblr, Inc. / Wikimedia Commons Public Domain 

 
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