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Tumblr to Ban All Adult Content

Tumblr, the social blogging service owned by Verizon’s Oath, is getting ready to ban all adult content: Nudity and other X-rated content won’t be allowed on the service starting later this month, Tumblr said in a support note Monday.

“Starting Dec 17, adult content will not be allowed on Tumblr, regardless of how old you are,” the note reads. “Adult content primarily includes 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.”

Tumblr CEO Jeff D’Onofrio painted the ban as a move towards a “better, more positive Tumblr” in a blog post Monday. “We spent considerable time weighing the pros and cons of expression in the community that includes adult content,” he wrote. “In doing so, it became clear that without this content we have the opportunity to create a place where more people feel comfortable expressing themselves.”

Tumblr said that it would make exceptions for photos of exposed female breasts in the context of breastfeeding, childbirth and other health-related subjects. Users will also be able to continue to post any newsworthy content and art involving nudity, as well as written erotica. The latter, and any content flagged as such, will continue to remain age-restricted.

Any x-rated content previously uploaded to Tumblr will only be viewable by the original uploader going forward. The platform is also giving users an appeals process to take action if they believe that their content was removed in error.

Yahoo acquired Tumblr for $1.1 billion in 2013. The company, and its new owner Verizon, have since struggled to monetize Tumblr’s community. 

However, the latest policy change seems to be equally motivated by outside pressure: Apple removed Tumblr’s app from its App Store last month after child porn surfaced within the app. The timing of Tumblr’s adult content ban suggests that Tumblr may have opted to rid itself of all x-rated content to regain access to the App Store, as Motherboard reported Monday.

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