The Not So Innocent Tumblr


Tumblr is one of the biggest social media platforms on the net.  Over half a billion users monthly.  144 billion posts.  120,000 new users each day.  53 million posts per day.  Sure, it's no Facebook (but none of the other social media platforms are), but it’s still a big deal.

I’ll be honest - I’m not a user.  But I’ve heard from students that I teach that they like it.  They can share whatever they like on it, and they essentially create their own blog and interact with others’ blogs.

An article on cnet.com recently highlighted an Italian study that looked at how much porn is on Tumblr, and how many people are seeing it, either intentionally or unintentionally.  They looked at 130 million users and 7 billion posts; a huge sample size.

Here’s what the study found:

“Adult content has become so pervasive that more than one in four people on the site will end up seeing porn without even looking for it, according to the study. Tumblr didn't respond to requests for comment.
Only 0.1 percent of accounts on the Yahoo-owned social network are producing porn content, but 22 percent of the site's users follow, like or reblog content from those accounts. Because of those shares, another 28.5 percent of people on Tumblr are unintentionally exposed to porn, according to the study.”

That’s over half of Tumblr users either following porn or being exposed unintentionally.

They also found that:

"Men and women under 25 on Tumblr are following porn at about the same rate, according to the study, but as users get older a gap appears."

So, if you’re a parent and your child is on Tumblr, chat to them about the kinds of things that pop up on their dashboard.  Don’t assume that this is simply a male problem.  With half of the users on Tumblr seeing porn, this isn’t something to be ignored.  And if you’ve got younger children, think carefully about what social media you’re going to allow them to use.