Verizon announced that microblogging platform Tumblr would be acquired by Automattic Inc, the tech company behind WordPress. This comes roughly eight months after Tumblr announced that it would no longer host NSFW content on its side and introduced posting guidelines that prohibited sexually explicit videos and images, as well as pictures of “female-presenting nipples.” Though the site lost nearly a third of its users following the ban, Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg said that his company does not intend to overturn that policy.
Tumblr became a popular fandom hub over the years. Ironically, much of its popularity can be attributed to the exodus of fandom spaces on LiveJournal, which introduced similar NSFW content bans before its ultimate decline. Many felt that the NSFW ban would lead to content from marginalized communities getting censored. Though many users did leave Tumblr after the policy was introduced and after the algorithm started to flag NSFW content, the platform’s most loyal have stayed on, mostly since there really isn’t another site quite like Tumblr.
For his part, Mullenweg has been a long-time Tumblr user and sees the platform as a sort of complement to WordPress.
“It’s just fun,” he said to the Wall Street Journal. “We’re not going to change any of that.”
A blog post on the Tumblr staff account specifically highlights the storytelling aspects of Automattic, emphasizing the community building aspect of Tumblr that earned it a special place in the hearts of users.
Automattic shares our vision to build passionate communities around shared interests and to democratize publishing so that anyone with a story can tell it, especially when they come from under-heard voices and marginalized communities.