Twitter to introduce stricter content NSFW guidelines — worrying adult content creators

Twitter to introduce stricter content NSFW guidelines — worrying adult content creators

Over the past year, social networking platforms Facebook and Instagram have made it almost impossible for NSFW artists to exist on the platforms in their efforts to ‘clean up’ the sites. The measures employed have ranged from banning any discussion around “sexual preference,” “sexual roles,” “breasts,” and “buttocks” to the tech giant’s latest stunt in restricting solicitation that involves “sexual emoji or emoji strings.”

The trend of deteriorating conditions for NSFW artists to make a living online first started last year when Tumblr announced that it would block anything it considered to be adult-rated visual content. Now, Twitter, a platform that tolerates sexual expression, has joined the censorship-ranks by changing its guidelines around its “sensitive media policy.”

As of January 1, 2020, the social networking site will ban “violent sexual conduct” and “gratuitous gore content.” As pointed out by The Daily Dot, Twitter defines adult content as media that is “pornographic or intended to cause sexual arousal,” including “cartoons, hentai, or anime involving humans or depictions of animals with human-like features.”

Twitter considers “violent sexual conduct” to be any media that portrays violent actions alongside sexual interactions, “whether real or simulated” such as simulated lack of consent and sexualized violence. Adding to this, Twitter can remove any material “that depicts violent sexual conduct or gratuitous gore anywhere” and can also permanently ban accounts that are “dedicated to posting this type of content.”

Wave goodbye to NSFW-content

While blocking “violent sexual conduct” seems like an easy move to clean up its platform and prevent offensive material from circulating on Twitter, multiple NSFW artists have voiced their concerns over this policy update signaling a complete NSFW-content ban in the coming year. 

“We prohibit violent sexual conduct to prevent the normalization of sexual assault and non-consensual violence associated with sexual acts. We prohibit gratuitous gore content because research has shown that repeated exposure to violent content online may negatively impact an individual’s wellbeing,” Twitter’s new guideline reads. “For these reasons, you can’t share images or videos that depict violent sexual conduct or gratuitous gore on Twitter.”

As outlined by The Daily Dot and multiple NSFW artists, these policies are fetish-shaming and suggest, that in the new year, posts that don’t involve straight, heterormative sex could be removed from the platform. While this policy will mainly affect those accounts specializing in dominatrix or submission for example, Twitter’s blurry guidelines could potentially affect sex workers on the platform who post “sensitive media” without violating terms and services.

Another form of policing that platforms including Facebook and Instagram have been using is “shadow banning,” the process of blocking or partially blocking a user or their content from an online community so it won’t appear in explore pages or the search bar.

As outlined in Twitter’s 2020 user guidelines, the company reserves the right to “limit distribution or visibility of any Content on the service.” This is a new addition as the company didn’t have the rights to do so in its company guidelines back in March 2018, as reported by XBIZ

“I’ve had clean photos removed [on Instagram] before and I’ve also experienced shadow-banning on both Instagram and Twitter,” Erika Lust, a an award-winning Swedish erotic film director, told TNW. “This means when people tried to search for my account, I didn’t appear in the search terms. For people who already followed me, I would be listed tenth on the list when searching with my username.”

Twitter’s updated, and vague, guidelines, act as yet another hurdle for sex workers and NSFW artists trying to make a living. While it’s unclear if Twitter has plans to place a complete-ban on sexual content on its platform, its first steps in censoring NSFW accounts isn’t a hopeful sign.

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