PLEASE STOP FREAKING OUT ABOUT A “2020 TWITTER PORN BAN”

twitter_750x422The past three to five years have seen a widespread darkening wave of censorship in terms of sex-related content on the internet. The most impactful assaults on this type of content was the dismantling of the Craigslist personal classifieds section and Tumblr’s full out ban on adult content. So it’s understandable that people are incredibly sensitive when it looks as if another platform is headed in that direction. But you guys are doing the most.

Last week, reports begin to surface that a new Twitter Terms of Service (TOS) update set to be implemented in January 2020 signaled an impending ban on pornography on the famously open social platform. Twitter has become a slight Wild Wild West of major social platforms given that Facebook and Instagram have completely banned not only sexual content but also most content that could in any way be construed as sexual. YouTube similarly doesn’t allow sexual content. As such, the news about Twitter trickled around social media, was amplified by Daily Dot and Gizmodo, and then exploded. 

“Twitter NSFW Ban Could Be Coming” Daily Dot wrote in a headline. “Twitter’s NSFW Purge Looms,” Gizmodo warned. The stories cited an update that banned “violent sexual conduct” and “gratuitous gore content.” Tweets embedded in the story alleged that the platform was “getting ready to ban sex workers and fetish artists en mass,” citing a line that defined “cartoons, hentai, or anime involving humans or depictions of animals with human-life features” as adult content if they are “intended to cause sexual arousal.” The Daily Dot story also included a tweet from its author which said that “accounts dedicated to posting ‘sensitive media’ will be banned.” But … all of this sounded too familiar.

In July, XBIZ ran a story about a Twitter TOS update that featured the exact same language as this. At the time, Out followed up on that reporting, speaking to a Twitter spokesperson, for clarity on the changes and was assured that the app was not going after adult content, and had no plans to.

“Accounts that simply post adult content either to express their sexuality or their interests will not be suspended,” a Twitter spokesperson said in July. Reached by Out this weekend, a separate Twitter spokesperson held to that, stating that there actually had been no update to the company’s TOS “sensitive content” section, where adult content is regulated, and that users can expect porn to be treated the same in 2020 as it had been in 2019. 

“The only thing updated in November was the reporting instructions,” the spokesperson confirmed, referencing two Twitter threads and a blog post detailing those changes. Both Daily Dot and Gizmodo acknowledge that the updates they reported on were implemented in May but, for some reason, still opted to stoke hysteria by running their stories as if there would be some changes coming in 2020. Instead, the current policy will continue: consensual pornographic content is allowed when it is uploaded into tweets. Adult content is not allowed in header images, profile photos, or in Twitter live streams — if it is posted there, users could see their accounts indefinitely suspended.

One aspect of the TOS that did get an update in wording that might be pertinent to those who post porn was pointed out by XBIZ. One clause says “We may also remove or refuse to distribute any Content on the Services, limit distribution or visibility of any Content on the service, suspend or terminate users, and reclaim usernames without liability to you.” The “limit distribution or visibility of any Content on the service” is an update that will go into effect on January 1, 2020. But what does this mean?

The Twitter spokesperson we spoke to said that the policy has always been there, “we have just clarified the language.” What this essentially means is that, this is something that Twitter has long done, and is now putting words to it.

XBIZ surmised — and we are inclined to agree — that this is simply verbalizing the app’s ongoing practice of shadowbanning. For accounts who post primarily adult content, Twitter sometimes makes it more difficult to find their account handles, and even sometimes makes it impossible to search the account’s tweets using the in-app tool. And while that definitely sucks and requires some maneuvering, it does not constitute a looming NSFW ban on the service.

SOURCE: OUT DOT COM

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