Porn Is Still Allowed On Twitter

Twitter's updated guidelines had users worried their adult content would be affected.

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Nov 3 2017, 7:36pm

Images: Shutterstock / Composition: Samantha Cole

Last week, Twitter released a set of new media policy guidelines for how it's planning to respond to things like revenge porn and hate speech, all in an effort to be less of a trash fire for its millions of users.

On Friday, the company updated the wording of those guidelines again—right on schedule with its calendar of combating all the awful shit people do on Twitter—to outline in more detail what constitutes adult content.

Several outlets are reporting on this update as if it's a sweeping "ban" on porn (Buzzfeed updated its article on the guidelines but didn't remove the incorrect tweet). But Twitter isn't banning porn—rather, it says it's making its policies more robust around revenge porn and sending images of non-consensual nudity (dick pics in your DMs), with specific examples of what is and isn't considered "sensitive" material.

Twitter already prohibited portraying sexual content in your profile photo or header image, but sexually explicit images are still allowed as tweets. You just have to mark it as "sensitive media." Sensitive media includes:

  • full or partial nudity (including closeups)
  • simulating a sexual act
  • intercourse or any sexual act (including illustrations)

"Artistic, medical, health, or educational content," such as breastfeeding, doesn't require the "sensitive media" mark.

The platform's advertising guidelines, however, do ban pornographic and sexual material in paid posts. I asked Dan Jackson, a spokesperson for Twitter, if accounts such as Pornhub or an individual performer's posts of their work are still allowed, and he said yes: The policy "banning porn" is within the set of guidelines specifically for advertisers. This, Jackson confirmed, is to keep advertisers from serving unsuspecting users ads for dildos and such, or porn sites from advertising their new fetish categories all over your feed. It's always been part of Twitter's policy for adult content in paid or promoted ads.

Today's blog post and updated guidelines are part of Twitter's existing policies, he said: "We are sharing more than we have in the past to help provide clarity, and we've added a lot more detail so people can see examples of what would violate these policies as well as how we'd enforce them."

Read More: Adult Content Creators Are Fighting Patreon's New Anti-Porn Rules

As porn performers and sex workers come off a confusing few weeks of news about Patreon's shift in policy, it's understandable that people in this community are on edge about how their work will live online. And Twitter's not always consistent with these rules—last week, Twitter suspended adult content creator Liara Roux for what it called violations of these guidelines, with little reasonable explanation from the company, and its suspension of actress Rose McGowan's account for speaking out against sexual assault led to the #WomenBoycottTwitter movement in October.

But for now, on Twitter at least, it seems that sex workers are safe from the banhammer.

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