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X Expands Community Features, Including Designation for NSFW Content

ByHuey Yee Ong

Mar 30, 2024
X Expands Community Features, Including Designation for NSFW Content

X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, has officially announced the introduction of NSFW (not safe for work) adult communities. This announcement comes in the wake of revelations by researchers that the company was experimenting with allowing communities dedicated to adult content on its platform.

According to X, community administrators now have the option to mark their groups with an “Adult Content” label via their settings. This move is designed to prevent their content from being automatically filtered by the platform’s systems. Without this designation, NSFW content within X’s Communities—groups with their own specific feeds, separate from the main user timeline—will be filtered by default.

X Embraces NSFW Communities

This development aligns with previous findings by researchers and reverse engineers who had identified early tests of NSFW communities on X. It signifies a more open approach by the social network towards managing adult content, which has been a longstanding element of the platform’s ecosystem.

NSFW content is particularly prevalent on X, serving as a key advertising medium for sex workers and a significant source of adult content-related bots and spam. In fact, internal documents from 2022 obtained by Reuters highlighted that around 13% of all posts on the platform included NSFW content, such as nude images, explicit videos, and other forms of pornography. These documents also pointed out that adult content was among the fastest-growing categories on the platform, even as engagement with other types of content, like news and sports, appeared to be waning.

How Common Is Adult Content on X?

The New York Intelligencer recently shed light on the issue of spam bots on X that promote NSFW content. These bots frequently engage with users through replies to posts, using messages like “nudes in bio” and “pics in bio,” among other explicit terms. This behavior underscores the challenges platforms face in managing adult content and related spam.

The inclusion of the option for Communities to label themselves as NSFW is part of a broader series of updates aimed at refining the Communities feature on X. An engineer at X posted about these changes, which were subsequently shared by Elon Musk with the comment, “Many upgrades to X Communities!”

During a fall all-hands meeting, Musk, along with CEO Linda Yaccarino, emphasized the importance of Communities in the platform’s growth strategy. Despite acknowledging that there was substantial work to be done to make Communities more appealing, Musk shared insights into the rapid growth of this feature, including new functionalities like incorporating feeds from any X account into a Community feed. This could enable a video game-focused community, for example, to feature content from prominent video game reviewers or commentators directly within their group feed. At that time, no specific plans for NSFW Communities were disclosed.

Enhancements and Future Plans for Communities

The potential success of Communities on X could position the platform as a competitor to established forum sites like Reddit. It could also benefit Musk’s AI initiatives, such as the xAI-run chatbot Grok, which relies exclusively on X content.

The announcement further detailed a suite of forthcoming features and enhancements for Communities, including:

Feature CategoryDetails
Moderation Tools– Ban button for reported posts
– Keep and Hide buttons on the Reported posts page
User Engagement and Discovery– Tools to sort posts by Trending, Most recent, and Most liked
– Media tab for Communities on Android
– Tools to discover top communities and posts by topic
Community Management and Growth– Promotion and recommendations of Communities on the For You tab
– Access to Community Analytics for moderators
– Ability to pin multiple members’ posts
Enhanced User Interface and Experience– Support for spam filter levels set by admins
– Simplified reporting and moderation pages
– Introduction of audio Spaces in Communities
– Range of bug fixes and minor improvements

Despite these extensive updates and the buzz they have created within the X community, the company has not yet provided specific timelines for the rollout of these new features and improvements.

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Featured Image courtesy of pikisuperstar on Freepik

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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