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X Adds Adult Content Setting for Communities

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As much as this may sound like a controversial shift towards less-than-savory adult content on X (formerly Twitter), it seems that the story is less salacious than it may have initially appeared.

Earlier today, Bloomberg reported that X is rolling out a new feature that will enable users to create communities around adult content, by adding an “Adult Content” qualifier to their groups.

X adult content

As per Bloomberg:

Users who create a community within the app can specify in the settings that their group “contains adult-sensitive content”. The X groups will then feature an “adult content” label. Users who fail to label their community could see some of the content being filtered out or removed, according to the screenshots of the rules.”

That sparked speculation that X could actually be looking to lean into adult content on the app, in the hopes of facilitating new revenue streams, potentially via partnerships adult content creators who are already highly active on the platform either way.

But X has since clarified that this is not a new shift in this direction, as such.

As per X:

To be clear, this setting is about making Communities safer for everyone by automatically filtering out NSFW content. Only users who have specified their age will be able to search Communities with NSFW content.

So it’s a protective measure, not a means of opening the gates to make adult content more visible, and acceptable in the app. That could be a side-effect either way, but it seems that X isn’t making a bigger leap to appeal to adult creators just yet.

Though it still might.

Back in 2022, Twitter explored the possibility of enabling adult content creators to sell subscriptions in the app, in an effort to tap into OnlyFans’ $2.5b self-made content market.

Adult content, as noted, is already very present on X, and readily accessible. As such, a logical step to make more money for the platform would be to monetize this, by leaning into this element, rather than just turning a blind eye to it.

Except, Twitter management eventually decided that it couldn’t do it.

Why?

As reported by The Verge:

Before the final go-ahead to launch, Twitter convened 84 employees to form what it called a “Red Team.” The goal was “to pressure-test the decision to allow adult creators to monetize on the platform, by specifically focusing on what it would look like for Twitter to do this safely and responsibly”. What the Red Team discovered derailed the project: Twitter could not safely allow adult creators to sell subscriptions because the company was not – and still is not – effectively policing harmful sexual content on the platform.”

The most concerning elements raised as a result of this exploration were child sexual exploitation and non-consensual nudity, and because the platform couldn’t adequately police such, enabling the monetization of porn was a major risk.

But X could still look in this direction if it really needs more revenue streams.

Back in January, X announced a plan to build a new “Trust and Safety center of excellence” in Texas, in order to improve its responsiveness in addressing these specific elements. Maybe, with that in place, X could be in a better position to actually enact such a plan, though we’ve heard little more about this “center of excellence”, nor has much progress seemingly been made.

Yet.

I do think that settings like this could be a step towards facilitating a separate, adults-only version of the app, which could also facilitate more adult content, and potentially deals with adult performers, that could bring more money to the app.

The other risk, of course, is that advertisers would flee the app as a result. But really, X doesn’t actually want more advertisers, as they can then impose restrictions on its moderation decisions. Ideally, X would prefer to make more money from users and creators instead.

So while this specific story isn’t necessarily an indicator of such intentions, it could be another step in this direction. If X needs it.

And with X’s ad revenue still down 50%, it may well need it, very soon.  



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