The Tumblr app has been missing from Apple’s iOS App Store for more than ten days. Tumblr has said several times that it was working to fix the issue. Apple reportedly removed Tumblr for hosting and circulating NSFW content, including child pornography, which violated the App Store Guidelines. One of the ways the company is trying to make it functional is by removing all the NSFW content, which is having a major side effect: Users leaving Tumblr in large numbers to join other platforms.
Why are users leaving Tumblr?
Piunikaweb, which was the first to report that Tumblr had been taken down from the App Store, has spotted several popular users leaving Tumblr to join Newgrounds, Pillowfort, and Twitter. The Tumblr app is not available on the App Store, but it remains available on the Google Play Store for Android users. The iOS users who used this workaround to install Tumblr on their iPhones discovered that the Safe Mode was turned on by default and there was no option to manually turn it off. The Safe Mode prevents users from viewing NSFW content.
It's 5:40am on Thanksgiving Day and NG just hit 2,000 active supporters for the first time ever! We're super thankful for everyone who is helping to make this happen! https://t.co/XaQzXziFUn
— Newgrounds.com (@Newgrounds) November 22, 2018
Tumblr has thousands of blogs related to art, music, and NSFW content. The company said in a statement that it was committed to building “a safe online environment for all users.” Tumblr now as a “zero tolerance policy when it comes to media featuring child sexual exploitation and abuse.” It has pledged to work with other vendors to actively monitor content uploaded to the platform. “Every image uploaded to Tumblr is scanned against an industry database of known child sexual abuse material, and images that are detected never reach the platform.”
The company is going the extra mile to remove pornographic content from its platform. It has to adhere to the App Store Guidelines if it wants to bring its app back to the iOS App Store. Earlier this year, Apple had removed Telegram from the App Store for distributing sexually explicit content. But Telegram responded quickly and updated its app to prevent users from sharing NSFW content. It returned to the App Store within hours of being pulled.
As Piunikaweb points out, Newgrounds is reaping the benefits of the Tumblr fiasco. Several bloggers are complaining on Twitter that their blogs (mostly NSFW) had disappeared. They had spent years building those blogs. In the rush to eradicate pornographic content, Tumblr has also ended up deleting many Safe for Work (SFW) blogs even though they follow its guidelines. Users leaving Tumblr have expressed frustration and anger.
Without notice Tumblr canceled my account with ALL my blogs
"Gerph18up", 60k Followers nsfw
"Skarpne" 30k Followers nsfw
"Gerph" 40k Followers, but that page is SFW
This is painful, 5 years of work deleted without explanation. ? pic.twitter.com/DUhzFRtU3D
— Gᛊᚱᚹᚺ (@gerph_art) November 19, 2018
Other platforms luring the Tumblr users
Tom Fulp, founder of Newgrounds, said their platform had seen a massive influx of artists, bloggers, and other creators, with most of them coming from Tumblr. Chatter on the Internet suggests that Newgrounds has indeed attracted a large user base from Tumblr. Another platform called Pillowfort is also pitching itself as an excellent alternative to Tumblr. Both Newgrounds and Pillowfort are actively courting users leaving Tumblr.
In light of recent Tumblr shenanigans, now seems like a good time to remind everyone that https://t.co/9gaUSfeXjP is a new social media platform that aims to give users better content control & communications tools!
More info & how to register: https://t.co/YUqKrQTrel pic.twitter.com/3slZBWo9CK
— Pillowfort.social (@Pillowfort_soc) November 20, 2018
If you had uninstalled Tumblr from your iPhone, and want to re-install it, you won’t find it in the App Store. But some users have found that you can still install it by going to the Purchased section in the App Store and re-installing it from there. The Purchased section should have a copy of the app. Remember that you’ll be able to view content only in Safe Mode, meaning no NSFW content.
Tumblr is almost synonymous with NSFW content. It will be interesting to see how the removal of the NSFW content and blogs would affect its user base if/when Tumblr manages to return to the App Store.