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Tumblr lost ~70% of its engagement in the 5 years prior to the adult content ban. The adult content ban was a drop in the bucket, numerically speaking. This graph is an accurate depiction: https://twitter.com/somospostpc/status/1161024458460712962

Also keep in mind a decent chunk of the adult content was literally automated bot spam.

Meanwhile, Statista's graph appears to be made of random numbers with no basis in reality whatsoever. They claim that even post-adult-content-ban, Tumblr has more MAUs than Twitter and Snapchat combined. Factor in Tumblr's 70% drop vs historic peak usage, and you'd end up with a number claiming Tumblr was once the most popular tech product on earth. This is quite obviously a complete fabrication.

If you want to be sad or angry about something, the loss of old peak Tumblr -- when it combined the best aspects of Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Reddit -- is a better target in my mind. Its decline was long and slow over many years.

(Disclosure: I was one of Tumblr's first engineers, and later director of platform engineering. I had no involvement whatsoever in the adult content ban, but nonetheless find it frustrating when people significantly overstate the amount of adult content on Tumblr. At its peak it contained an extremely diverse set of communities, and I fear this is being completely lost in revisionist rhetoric.)

I don't think MAUs === how good a site is. I wasn't even a particularly active tumblr user at any point, I can't really say if it was much better 5 years ago. I do not want to be angry or sad about something. I'm just sharing my subjective experience and publicly mourning the loss of something that was valuable to me. I found a lot of positivity and value in the adult content on tumblr. It was of a flavor much more palatable to me than what I tend to find on the rest of the internet.

The ban might be a drop in the bucket overall, but the ban and the sometimes hilarious attempts at automated enforcement was a huge hit to reputation. What that means for Tumblr's future is uncertain.

Thank you for sharing, were you there when Yahoo/Verizon took over? IYO was the decline due to that or more that Tumblr itself just peaked like so many other social networks?

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