Tumblr.com

Pornhub might buy Tumblr and finally bring adult content back to the site

At the end of 2018, Tumblr announced that it would start banning so-called adult content, despite countless people visiting the site for exactly those kinds of R-rated posts. Upon hearing the news, many users expressed their frustration, with over 600,000 people signing a petition urging Tumblr to rescind its ban. No change occurred, but six months into Tumblr's adult content-free existence, there's a glimmer of hope. With the site having lost almost a third of its users and failing to meet its target revenue numbers, its owner, Verizon Media Group, is looking to sell. And Canada-based porn site PornHub is interested in purchasing Tumblr's 12-year-old platform and restoring the website to its former uncensored self.

"Tumblr was a safe haven for those who wanted to explore and express their sexuality, adult entertainment aficionados included," Pornhub Vice President Corey Price told BuzzFeed News on May 2. "We’ve long been dismayed that such measures were taken to eradicate erotic communities on the platform, leaving many individuals without an asylum through which they could comfortably peruse adult content."

Pornhub and Tumblr could actually make quite a pair. PornHub allows users to upload content and dubs itself as the "world's leading free porn site," while Tumblr pre-ban featured plenty of sex-focused posts. According to the ban, the outlawed content included "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."

Many people are thrilled to hear that Tumblr could be restored to its former state, especially since the ban didn't just affect pornography, but caused innocent content like "beautiful men kissing", as Tumblr user Wil Wheaton noted, to be flagged as "sensitive." Tumblr was originally meant to be a community for those outside the mainstream — and many people feel that its censorship is harmful to the LGBTQ+ community, sex workers, and others who previously turned to the site for community, self-expression and an escape from reality.

That said, Tumblr's rule didn't come without any reason. The month before the ban took effect, Apple removed the Tumblr app from its App Store, due to concerns about Tumblr's inability to safely filter and eliminate child pornography on the site (following the ban, Tumblr resurfaced in the App Store). If the ban is overturned via Pornhub, it could potentially cause a rise in that kind of illegal and dangerous content, if the site's new owners don't regulate it properly.

Additionally, while PornHub's potential purchase may restore Tumblr to its former glory days, it could also be a flop. At TechCrunch stated, PornHub's parent company, MindGeek — which also owns several other popular porn sites — has a history of exploitation accusations, with allegedly frequent piracy of films across the company's sites leading to performers struggling to earn money from their work while MindGeek gains additional ad revenue.

MindGeek disputes these claims, with representative saying in an email to Mic, "We take all means necessary to prevent pirated content from reaching our sites. Anyone uploading content to a MindGeek site must abide by the Terms of Service of the site which requires users to assert that they have rights to distribute the video. We dedicate almost $2 million annually towards a technological solution in order to prevent the unauthorized distribution of content."

Still, the social media reaction to the Pornhub news was overwhelmingly positive, with many Twitter users voicing their enthusiasm for a potential return of the old Tumblr.

Verizon Media has not yet commented on the potential buyer, but clearly, there's already plenty of enthusiasm for the potential deal — and all the racy content that might finally come back to the site.

Editor's Note: this article has been updated from its original form.