Exclusive: Tumblr Is Making It Easier For You To Watch Porn On Your Phone

A couple months after Yahoo bought Tumblr in the middle of 2013, the effects of being bought by a conglomerate Internet company who was hemorrhaging customers because it couldn’t keep up with the latest innovations could be seen almost immediately: Tumblr began to ban porn on its platform – not just porn, but anything controversial topics that advertisers wouldn’t like and that lead to topics such as LGBT to be banned off the platform.

The move sent a ripple through Tumblr’s mostly-liberal users and within a few hours, the repercussions could be seen: users were moving their blogs over to WordPress, en-masse (WordPress’ founder Matt Mullenwag claimed that they saw a 9000% – no typo there – increase in the import of blog posts from Tumblr sites).

David Karp, Tumblr’s CEO, knew he had to backtrack right away or lose more users (I heard from sources familiar with the issue that several emergency high-level executive meetings were called because of the backfire) – and so weeks later, Karp came up with a solution that can be described as condescending at best: we’ll let you watch your porn, but we’re going to make it extremely hard for you to do so.

First, users have to be signed in to Tumblr’s mobile apps if they want to view any of the explicit contents hosted on its platform. Next, they have to turn Safe Mode off (which in itself wasn’t exactly easy to find at all) before searching whatever they want to. But once they started searching for the blogs on the Search page, there was another problem: not all blogs were included. Blogs categorized as “Adult” were effectively censored and there was no way you could view them, even if you turned Safe Mode off.

However, Tumblr’s app update yesterday changed it all.

A low-key app update that did not bring much attention to itself, Tumblr only described it as:

Made one big improvement: now you can filter and sort your search results. Now you can take control of your life.

This new filter system means that the ability to view Tumblr’s explicit content on its apps (update is now available on both the iOS App Store and the Android Play Store) only depended on two things now: do you want to, or not.

If you want to, after searching for whatever you’re looking for, you’ll arrive at a page that should look like this:

Tumblr's updated iOS app settings

In the old Tumblr app, if you arrived at a page like that, that was it: there was no other way you can continue searching for the stuff you want to view.

However, with the inclusion (only available with the latest update) of the padlock icon next to the save button (marked in red), simply tapping it will bring this dialogue up (note that the padlocks are always locked by default):

"Show Explicit Content?" Tumblr's updated iOS app

Hit the “Show explicit content” option and here you go!

Tumblr's updated iOS app allows for porn watching easily
Pictures censored for obvious reasons.

Whereas the old Tumblr app severely restricted the user’s ability to search for explicit content, the newly updated version of the app presents users with a simpler and much more streamlined approach when dealing with the various controversial contents hosted on the platform.

Tumblr’s spokesperson did not reply to a request for comment as of the publication of this article.