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X’s (Twitter) New Adult Content Policy Raises Safeguarding Concerns

X now permits consensual adult content with mandatory labeling to supposedly prevent access by minors and uninterested users. Despite these measures, concerns persist about safeguarding against exploitation and inappropriate exposure.


X, formerly Twitter until Elon Musk’s acquisition in 2022 and rebranding in 2023, has formalized a policy to allow consensual adult content on the site. X’s announcement comes amidst growing pressure on regulators worldwide to prevent children from accessing inappropriate content across social media.

Although no official policy existed until now, NSFW content was historically allowed on Twitter pre-Musk. According to an October 2022 Reuters report, Twitter estimated that 13% of all its content featured adult content.

Related: There’s a Serious Porn Problem on Popular Social Media Platforms

But the proliferation of pornographic content on social media isn’t unique to Twitter or X. Explicit pornographic content has historically infiltrated social media and hasn’t been successfully or earnestly prevented. Various platforms have also long been utilized by creators and distributors to advertise adult content—for example, performers on subscription services like OnlyFans who use social media to promote themselves.


But unlike every platform, X has formally updated its policy on adult content to make consensual adult content officially permissible as long as it is clearly labeled as such (with some restrictions).

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Breaking down X’s new policy on adult content


X’s new adult content rules allow pornographic content on its platform as long as it’s “properly labeled and not prominently displayed.” Labeling the content blocks users under 18 from viewing it. It also blocks users without a birth date in their profile. Additionally, it gives those who opt out the choice not to see it.


“We believe that users should be able to create, distribute, and consume material related to sexual themes as long as it is consensually produced and distributed.”


X also clearly states that exposure to the content “for children or adult users who choose not to see it” is restricted. In practice, this includes keeping highly visible parts of the site, such as profile pictures, banners, headers, live video, or cover photos, clear of pornographic images.


When such posts are uploaded to the platform, they must be labeled so they can be hidden from view. X policy also bans “content promoting exploitation, nonconsent, objectification, sexualization or harm to minors, and obscene behaviors.”


How does X define and label adult content?


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.” This includes full or partial nudity and explicit or implied sexual behavior or sexual acts.

This also applies to AI-generated and animated content.

Related: Would AI-Generated Nudes Solve the Ethical Problems of Porn Sites?

X requires adult content to be labeled as such so that it has “restricted reach.” Users are allowed to post adult content “provided it’s properly labeled with a content warning so users who do not wish to see it can avoid it. This also means children under 18 are not exposed to it.”


X’s policy goes into detail about the categories of “adult nudity” and “sexual behavior” that require labeling, as well as what is not considered adult content and does not need a content warning.


X requires such content to be removed and warns that “subsequent violations may result in the account being placed in read-only mode or suspended.” The content also must comply with all X rules related to content removal or account suspension, including:


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How to label adult content on X or report unmarked content 


Media settings can be adjusted for users who regularly post adult content, placing all images and videos behind a content warning. Users can also add a one-time content warning to individual posts. If users continue to fail marking their posts, X states “we will adjust your account settings for you.”


Anyone can report unmarked content or other violations through the app. The policy also states that users can submit an appeal if they feel X has made a mistake.


Even “consensual” porn isn’t harmless


Regardless of what platform hosts it, porn isn’t as harmless as society says it is. It’s important for consumers to get the facts on how porn can impact individuals, relationships, and society.


For example, porn can impact and rewire the brain. It can become a compulsive behavior or even an addiction. Porn can turn into an escalating behavior. It can lead to unhealthy attitudes and behaviors. It can negatively impact relationships and fuel violence and sexual objectification. Porn can hurt sex lives, intimacy, and partners. It can promote violence—just to name a few effects.

Related: Are There Any Issues With Watching Consensual Porn?

And what appears to be consensual adult content online isn’t always. The porn industry profits from nonconsensual content and abuse and fuels sex trafficking—so it can arguably be in their favor to not only let nonconsensual content slide but to create and facilitate it.


Another dark yet prevalent truth is that sex traffickers frequently use social media to find, contact, groom, recruit, sell, and control victims—including children.


The bottom line is porn that appears to be consensual on platforms like X may not be, and even consensual porn can hurt the people who consume it.

Increase education, decrease the demand


Our organization has no legislative or religious agenda and recognizes adults’ right to consume legal, consensual pornography. We’re not here to tell X or any other organization how to structure its policies.


Rather, our mission is to educate about how pornography can impact individuals, relationships, and society. We’re research-based, education-focused, sex-positive, and freedom-preserving. We’re pro-healthy sexuality, which is why we talk about how porn can harm consumer’s sex lives. We believe that individuals deserve the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography. That’s why we work to raise awareness of its harmful effects using only science, facts, and personal accounts.

Related: How Porn Can Harm Consumers’ Sex Lives

Our vision is to reduce sexual exploitation through education and empower individuals to live free from pornography’s harmful effects.


To wrap it all up, we believe individuals and our world deserve better than porn. The right to choose whether or not to consume it should be accompanied by an understanding of the risks. Additionally, it should come with knowledge of the facts.

Check out our resources: Get The Facts articles, Brain Heart World documentary, Consider Before Consuming podcast, and YouTube Videos to get more educated on the harmful effects of pornography.

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