Free the nipple! Tumblr brings back nudity

an image of womans neck, arm and bottom part of her face
Tumblr brings back nudity, but NOT pornefenzi - Getty Images

Ah, Tumblr. Before TikTok and Instagram, this was the platform for our daily thoughts and thirst traps. Though you also might know it for Taylor Swift gifs and motivational quotes, in the mid-00s, it was the one of the internet’s horniest places to be – NSFW fan art, erotica, and everything in between.

But then in 2018, the platform introduced a blanket ban on content considered ‘not safe for work’ (NSFW), beyond what illegal content is. That meant the banning of “photos, videos, or Gifs that show real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples, and any content – including photos, videos, Gifs and illustrations – that depict sex acts.” Female-presenting nipples… seriously? The reaction at the time, you can guess, was furious.

Back in 2018, CEO Jeff D’Onofrio wrote: “there are no shortage of sites on the internet that feature adult content.” However, In just three months of making the change, the platform lost over 151 million monthly page views (that's 30% of viewers).

And so yesterday (1 November), Tumblr announced it will be bringing back nudity, undoing some of that damage caused four years ago. Now, the guidelines have clarified the types of nudity allowed on the platform.

The new 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.”

The guidelines further outlined: "So, even if your creations contain nudity, mature subject matter, or sexual themes, you can now share them on Tumblr using the appropriate Community Label so that everyone remains in control of the types of content they see on their dash."

Not to be misconstrued, sex acts and “content with an overt focus on genitalia” are still, definitely not allowed to make their way onto the site – porn isn’t coming back to Tumblr.

A Community Label acts as a sensitivity filter, and allows users to filter content as they wish. Introduced in September, Community Labels allow Tumblr users to mark their content as depicting drug and alcohol addiction, violence, or sexual themes – including "erotic writing or imagery".

The original ban came when Tumblr was owned by Verizon. Matt Mullenweg, CEO of Automattic (which acquired Tumblr in 2019) wrote in a blog post in September addressing its stance on nudity: “I agree with ‘go nuts, show nuts’ in principle, but the casually porn-friendly era of the early internet is currently impossible.”

“We hope this shift creates more room for artistic expression to flourish on Tumblr while empowering each of you to craft your own experience and safely explore and discover the things you love,” a new statement from Tumblr detailed.

Cosmopolitan UK has reached out to Tumblr for comment.

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