X officially changes rules to allow NSFW content

X officially changes rules to allow NSFW content

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It’s official. X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, is now one of the only mainstream social media platforms to allow adult content.

Over the weekend, Elon Musk’s X added new rules to the platform, specifically its “adult content policy” page. X’s new NSFW rules explicitly allow consensual adult content, which includes full nudity and sexual acts.

“You may share consensually produced and distributed adult nudity or sexual behavior, provided it’s properly labeled and not prominently displayed,” reads the bolded text at the top of X’s adult content policy page.

A few months ago, X started testing an “adult content” label for NSFW communities on X in an early attempt to make an adult content policy official.

What X’s new NSFW policy says

X defines adult content as “any consensually produced and distributed material depicting adult nudity or sexual behavior that is pornographic or intended to cause sexual arousal.” The company says this mandate applies to AI-generated adult content as well, regardless of whether the content is “photographic or animated content such as cartoons, hentai, or anime.”

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X’s Adult Content Policy page encourages users to mark any adult material that they post in order to put it behind a content warning, which requires users’ consent to viewing the media in the post before it is shown to them. There are options to mark a single post with a content warning. If a user regularly publishes adult content, they can tweak their settings to mark all media content that they post with an automatic content warning.

According to the policy, users under 18 — or those who do not have a birth date attached to their account — cannot view media flagged with a content warning. It’s unclear if adult material that isn’t marked with a content warning is against the platform’s official rules.

Based on the policy, it appears that there aren’t any repercussions for users who do not mark adult content. The policy states that if X finds that a user continuously doesn’t flag adult content in their posts, the platform will simply alter your account settings and mark it for them.

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An awkward time for ‘family pics’

The rule change on X allowing adult content does come at a fairly awkward time. Just weeks ago, Musk had encouraged users to post photos of their children on the platform.

“Post your family pics on X!” Musk said alongside a meme portraying Instagram as a strip club. “We care & do more to fight child exploitation than any other platform by far.”

Musk later deleted the post. It’s unclear why, but his remarks were certainly inaccurate. X has unofficially allowed adult content to be published on the platform long before Musk acquired then-Twitter in October 2022 — and that unofficial policy continued under Musk. 

The platform known as Twitter didn’t have any specific rules allowing adult content, but it did not take down nor censor such content. X also did not ban accounts posting NSFW posts. In the social media landscape, where platforms like Facebook and Instagram strictly moderate and remove adult content, Twitter has emerged as a haven for sex workers and adult content creators.

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However, X’s policies on adult content have also come with some negative aspects as well. Under Musk’s ownership, the platform has had to uniquely struggle with relentless swarms of porn bots, such as the now infamous “pussy in bio” spam.

Furthermore, Musk’s comments about child exploitation regarding X and Instagram were also at odds with reality. Shortly before Musk bought the company, Twitter even had plans to launch its own built-in OnlyFans competitor. However, issues regarding how the company was failing to deal with child sexual abuse material (CSAM) derailed those plans. 

Under Musk, the CSAM issues have persisted on the platform to varying degrees. Last July, Musk personally stepped in to unsuspend a far-right influencer after that user had posted “child-exploitation pictures,” according to Musk.

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