WordPress owner buys Tumblr, says porn will remain banned

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WordPress owner buys Tumblr, says porn will remain banned

After a difficult year, Tumblr has been sold to Automattic, the owner of WordPress.com (but not WordPress.org). For users hoping the acquisition will mean a reversal of its NSFW ban, it’s not going to happen. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that the blogging site was bought for an undisclosed sum by the publisher, which owns smaller platforms including Longreads and Simplenote.

Tumblr was worth $1.1bn when it was bought by Yahoo back in 2013. Its value has decreased since then though – dropping $230m in value when it was sold again just four months later. 

News of the acquisition shut down speculation that Pornhub would purchase Tumblr, something the porn site said it was “extremely interested” in doing in May. 

But in a thread posted on Hacker News yesterday, Mullenweg addressed the NSFW ban: “Adult content… creates a huge number of potential issues with app stores, payment providers, trust and safety.”

“It’s a problem area best suited for companies fully dedicated to creating a great experience there,” he said, adding “I personally have very liberal views on these things, but supporting adult content as a business is very different.” 

Mullenweg’s views on adult content on online platforms echoes those shared by execs at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Moderating adult content is a labourious job, and one – as Mullenweg says – requires “full dedication” from the site to determine what’s fit for publishing. 

Buzzfeed reporter Ryan Broderick notes that WordPress.com does allow mature content, so long as it is marked ‘Mature’ in its system.  It does ban accounts posting explicitly pornographic material, however.

On its mature content support page, WordPress asks users to “provide us the courtesy” to report their blog if publishing content intended for mature audiences. 

So, not great news for NSFW content creators, particularly when it seems no mainstream non-pornographic tech giant really wants to support its adult communities.

Read next: As adult Tumblr alternatives pop-up, the company’s porn ban isn’t going so well

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