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Tumblr is a microblogging, social networking service that was founded by David Karp, under “Davidville, Inc.” (now “Tumblr, Inc.”), on February 19, 2007.1) It was inspired by the tentatively named tumblelog, now called a microblog, which appealed to busy internet users.

In 2013, Yahoo had acquired Tumblr for $1.1 billion,2)3) but this did not pan out4)5)6)7) as Yahoo fell to Verizon in 20178)9) who later enacted a ban on adult content.10) Then on August 12, 2019, Automattic acquired Tumblr for under $3 million.11)12)



There are seven post formats (i.e. text, photo, quote, link, chat, audio, video) that the user is able to make a post with. Like most social networking services, users may change up their dashboard by following and unfollowing blogs. From there, a user can reblog (similar to sharing or retweeting) and like other posts. They can also add a response to a post in a reblog or leave a reply if the original poster allows it.

A single Tumblr account is attached to a primary blog that messages can be sent from. It's possible to make additional, secondary blogs that can be set to private or managed by multiple accounts if the owner wishes, but asks and submissions can't be sent from these accounts. Also, users can adjust, modify, and edit a blog's HTML theme, but there are obviously limitations and certain guidelines in place.


Tumblr is a casual, entertaining website that has more features than Twitter and, despite losing a third of its users in 2018 and remaining somewhat obscure, it's still popular with teenagers and young adults.13)14) Historically, it was a bustling hub for fan communities after LiveJournal15) and DeviantArt's declines. Arguably, it still upholds this title, but the culture and humor is constantly changing and evolving over time.

In one way or another, you'll be subjected to news and politics, ranging from leftist to liberal with a couple of outliers due to the website's flexibility. However, the rabid, self-righteous activists have migrated to Twitter, ironically making Tumblr significantly more pleasant than it's been historically. In all honesty, while it is slower, there's still an active community and the new management isn't as dead on arrival.


Removal of adult content

Tumblr initially carried adult content16)17) until it became clear that Apple18) and various payment processors didn't approve of it, threatening their mobile revenue.19)20) In the past, they tried to circumvent this with the “Safe Mode” setting21) and NSFW toggles,22) then the CSEM fiasco23) and slew of prudish mobile app reviews forced Tumblr to ban adult content on December 17, 2018,24)25) which was very unpopular.26)

With the 2019 acquisition, Tumblr introduced “sensitive content” toggles,27)28) paving the way for the “sexual themes” community label being added on September 26, 2022.29) Sadly, this just meant that Tumblr allows images with artful nudity while certain acts are still prohibited, then Mullingweg would reiterate that Tumblr was not in a position to unban pornography anytime soon.30)31)32)

Inability to handle criticism

In contrast to prior owners being passive about staff critique, Automattic became rather abrasive by outright terminating blogs and calling them internet trolls.33)34) This became noticeable around May 27, 2022 after users pointed out that a staff member liked Attack on Titan and Harry Potter despite their reputation,35) so the post was purged36) and the blog was terminated for “harassment of Tumblr staff”.37)

Then in September 2023, we'd see Mullenweg allegedly terminate blogs for hopping on a “Kung Pow Penis” reblog chain against him, claiming that they've broken their “non-genuine social gesture schemes” rule.38) Mullingweg would later speak on behalf of himself and his team, pointing out that such attacks have impacted their health,39) but he believes these “super-trolls” can brushed aside.40)

Criticisms of Tumblr under previous owners

Security concerns

Prior to the Yahoo acquisition, the GNAA exploited an XSS vulnerability in their war against blogs around late 2012,41)42) then a data breach from early 2013 wasn't discovered until May 12, 2016.43)44) During the Yahoo era, people were concerned due to Yahoo's poor track record with data breaches and malvertising, but they actually remained clean with Tumblr up until their formal merger into Verizon.45)

Questionable web design

After Tumblr's designer resigned, Yahoo made several controversial design changes like full-width posts to match the app,46) neutered post editing,47) abandoning nested blockquotes,48)49) removing replies,50) etc. During this era, criticism was largely ignored, except for replies which returned after nearly five months.51)52) Under Automattic, Tumblr began actively collaborating with the New XKit staff.

Child exploitation material

During July 2018, a child exploitation issue on Tumblr was discovered53) and went viral among the users.54) Tumblr allegedly responded to the original poster's concerns55) and evidence of their post was deleted. However, the Tumblr app was later removed from the App Store on November 16, 2018 for CSEM on private blogs,56) suggesting that the team under Verizon never actually resolved the issue at hand.

Third-party extensions

  • Tumblr Savior (2008-08-0157) –) GitHub last commit (branch)
    A simple, decade-old, blacklisting extension that is still receiving updates!
  • Missing E (2011-03-1558) – 2012-12-04)59) GitHub last commit (branch)
    The original all-in-one extension, abandoned in 2013.60)61)
  • XKit (2011-08-0562)63) – 2015-01-29)64) GitHub last commit (branch)
    The alternative all-in-one extension that came out on top, then the developer was smeared.65)
  • New XKit (2015-07-1766) – 2022-11-05?) GitHub last commit (branch)
    A fork of XKit 7 that became an unofficial successor to XKit. Mostly abandoned for XKit Rewritten.
  • XKit Rewritten (2021-03-0167) –) GitHub last commit (branch)
    The rewrite of XKit, maintained by the New XKit team.

Archival tools

  • tumblr-utils GitHub last commit (branch)
    The Python 2.7 script for making local backups. Refer to the Beginner's Guide for setting up and review the file since it mostly relies on command prompt.
  • TumblThree GitHub last commit (branch)
    The one with the GUI, if you're allergic to command prompt, that mostly dumps stuff into a folder and doesn't generate a neat HTML page. Named as a TumblTwo rewrite, which was a TumblOne fork.


  • The early years of Tumblr can be described as this mix of hipster content (e.g. photographs, quotes) and the dreaded fandom content (e.g. screencaps, reaction GIFs, memes, fan works, etc.).
    • 4chan's first war against Tumblr was over “meme theft” in 2010, but this backfired,68)69)70) and it had the effect of introducing people to 4chan, influencing their early 2010s culture.
    • The golden years met its end with Homestuck's peak and DashCon, as their userbase matured with a surge in social justice and identity politics that would consume the mid-2010s.
  • Starting in 2016, inactive blogs would get “-blog” tacked on if they were inactive for over a year,71)72) then Tumblr began to enforce a policy that would technically discourage URL hoarding.
    • If you get suspended for this: you will have to contact Tumblr Support, not the Tumblr Abuse email, and don't try to outsmart them by offloading the URLs onto another account. They'll know.
  • From December 2022 to January 2024, Automattic and The Meet Group entered a contract where The Meet Group's “LiveBox” was white-labeled as “Tumblr Live”,73)74)75) which came with a “snooze” feature76) that annoyed everyone. It was so unpopular that the official Tumblr account posted a meme as the contract expired.77)

See also

It's actually quite tolerable after people fled in droves.
      ∧_∧   (´<_`  ) At least, some erotica
     ( ´_ゝ`)   /  ⌒i  occasionally passes by.
 ̄\  /   / ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄/| |
 ̄ ̄| /   ./ Tumblr. / | |
 ̄| |(__ニつ/____/ .| |____
田| | \___))\  ̄(u ⊃
ノ||| |       ⌒ ̄
"Tumblr — something we’ve always wanted" (February 19, 2007). Davidville.
"Tumblr. + Yahoo! – It’s Officially Official." (June 20, 2013). Yahoo on Tumblr.
"Goodbye, Tumblr; Yahoo! Hardly Knew Ye" (July 19, 2016). TheStreet.
10) , 24)
"A better, more positive Tumblr" (December 3, 2018). Tumblr Staff.
"Hello Tumblr 👋" (August 12, 2019). Tumblr Staff.
"Yahoo to Buy Tumblr for $1.1 Billion" (May 19, 2013). The New York Times.
23) , 56)
"November 16, 2018: Issues with the iOS app" (November 16, 2018). [Archive 2] Tumblr Help Center.
"Updates to Tumblr’s Community Guidelines" (December 4, 2018). Tumblr Support.
"An Update on the Tumblr iOS App" (December 21, 2021). Tumblr.
"Tuesday, December 28th, 2021" (December 28, 2021). Tumblr.
"Introducing: Community Labels" (September 26, 2022). Tumblr.
"Verizon to Sell Tumblr to Owner" [Archive] (August 12, 2019). The Wall Street Journal.
33) , 39)
"you good dude" (November 9, 2023). Tumblr.
"COVERUP COVERUP COVERUP" (May 28, 2022). Tumblr.
"Kung Pow Penising is now illegal" (September 12, 2023). Tumblr.
"Urgent security update" (April 8, 2014). Tumblr Staff.
"Pardon our dust" (October 26, 2015). Tumblr Support.
"Your replies are on the way, Tumblr" (February 9, 2016). Tumblr Support.
"Holy moly, replies are back" (March 28, 2016). Tumblr Staff.
"Blogs to report" [Archive 2] (July 18, 2018). Tumblr.
"Tumblr’s Secret Problem" [Archive 2] (July 25, 2018). Tumblr.
"Poor, poor, successful guy." (January 28, 2013). Tumblr.
"A visual history of XKit" (April 30, 2012). Tumblr.
"XKit 0.4.0 is coming soon!" (November 20, 2011). Tumblr.
"XKit Update, Jan 29" (January 29, 2015). Tumblr.
"About xkit guy and why he left us" (April 9, 2015). Tumblr.
"XKIT: IT’S HAPPENING" (July 17, 2015). Tumblr.
"Beta 0.1.0" (March 1, 2021). GitHub.
"Heads up on a little maintenance that’s going on:" (September 17, 2015). Tumblr Support.
"Refreshing our Community Guidelines" (June 23, 2016). Tumblr Staff.
"" (January 1, 2024). Twitter.
tumblr.txt · Last modified: 2024-05-30 07:17:04 by namelessrumia