Verizon Sells Tumblr to WordPress Owners

It looks like Tumblr is tumbling on to the next buyer. The recently embattled website famously struggled after being acquired by Yahoo, but it has life to it yet. After being bought by Verizon, Tumblr has now been sold to Automattic Inc., the owner of WordPress.

According to The Wall Street Journal (via The Verge), the WordPress owner bought Tumblr for a yet-disclosed amount of money. It is said Verizon began exploring options for sale. While Tumblr did quiet during its time with Verizon, the site has kept a solid portion of its loyal fanbase.

Of course, Tumblr has seen the loss of users since it first traded hands. Last year, controversy arose when Verizon announced it was banning all adult content from Tumblr after its mobile app was taken down from the iOS store. This ban was extensive and particularly riled up fans who used Tumblr for fan-works or to express their sexuality. Once the ban went public, social media campaigns rallied behind a Tumblr boycott, but fans should not expect the ban to be lifted.

According to Matt Mullenweg, the CEO of Automattic Inc., Tumblr will not reverse its adult content ban. Instead, the site is meant to be a "complementary" site to WordPress.

“It’s just fun,” Mullenweg said. “We’re not going to change any of that.”

So far, there is no word on what this acqTmobile interfaces. For now, the future of Tumblr remains grey, but longtime fans are hoping the site returns to its beloved navy glory before long even if it has plenty to prove to users.

The trouble for Tumblr began when the site was bought by Yahoo back in 2013. The popular microblogging site was at the forefront of fandom, and Yahoo paid a reported $1.1 billion for the site. Verizon acquired Tumblr in 2017, and the site's crackdown on adult content upset fans. Adult blogs were restricted to public view, and the issue culminated when Tumblr's mobile app was taken down after reports suggested child pornography was discovered on the site.

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"We’re committed to helping build a safe online environment for all users, and we have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to media featuring child sexual exploitation and abuse," Tumblr shared in a statement after the app disappeared. "As this is an industry-wide problem, we work collaboratively with our industry peers and partners like NCMEC to actively monitor content uploaded to the platform."

Shortly after the app was taken down, Verizon made the decision to ban all adult content, and Tumblr became the subject of dozens of boycott rallies. Now, reports from Axios says Automattic Inc. was able to buy Tumblr for $20 million from Verizon which is shocking depreciation from its 2013 net worth, but fans fo the website are keeping their fingers crossed for a comeback.