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X confirms plans for NSFW Communities

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A day after researchers surfaced X’s plans to test NSFW adult communities on the platform formerly known as Twitter, the company confirmed that Community admins can now set an “Adult Content” label in their settings to avoid having their communities’ content auto-filtered. Otherwise, all NSFW content will be soon filtered across X’s Communities by default. Communities are X’s smaller groups with their own feeds outside of the main timeline.

The changes appear to confirm the earlier tests of NSFW communities spotted by various researchers and reverse engineers, and point to a social network that will now more directly embrace the adult content that has always been present on the platform.

NSFW (not safe for work) content plays a major role on X, which has been a primary advertising venue for sex workers as well as home to a large amount of adult content-focused bots and spam. According to internal documents obtained by Reuters in 2022, roughly 13% of all Twitter posts had included NSFW content, like nude and explicit photos, videos and other pornography. What’s more, the documents indicated that adult content was one of the fastest-growing genres on the platform, even as news and sports were declining.

New York Intelligencer also recently detailed the rise of spam bots on the service now known as X, which promoted NSFW content with links in their profiles, or bios, leading them to regularly reply to posts with messages like “nudes in bio,” “pics in bio” and other more explicit terms.

Now, included in a long list of updates to X’s Communities is the confirmation that NSFW-focused communities will be allowed to designate themselves as such to keep from having their content filtered automatically, as in other Communities.

The changes, posted on X by an engineer, were reshared by Musk, who commented, “Many upgrades to X Communities!”

Communities are something that owner Elon Musk and CEO Linda Yaccarino promoted during an all-hands last fall as being key to X’s future growth plans.

According to a transcript acquired by The Verge, Musk explained that the Communities product was growing fast but “there’s a lot of work to do to make Communities compelling.” He also shared that X was seeing “rapid percentage growth” in Communities, and had been adding new features, like the ability to include any X account’s feed in the Community feed. For example, a video game-focused community may want to include the X accounts of notable video game reviewers or commentators, he said. The X executives had not shared any plans for NSFW Communities at that time.

If X were able to make Communities a successful product, it could potentially serve as a competitor to larger forum sites like Reddit and host of training data for Musk’s xAI-run chatbot Grok, which has exclusive access to X content.

Alongside the news that Community admins could now label themselves as including adult content, X will also introduce a Ban button alongside Keep and Hide buttons on the Reported posts page along with more detailed messages explaining why you’re not eligible to join a given Community, plus temporary and permanent bans for spammers; tools to sort posts by Trending, Most recent and Most liked; a Media tab for Communities on Android; and more, including a range of bug fixes and minor improvements.

The list of what’s ahead for Communities was fairly extensive, too, noting that users will soon be able to explore top posts and top communities across all Communities and tools to discover top communities and posts by topic. Communities will also be promoted and recommended to potentially interested users on the For You tab, allowing them to grow more of a following. Mods will have access to Community Analytics and will be able to pin multiple members’ posts. There will also be support for spam filter levels set by admins, simplified reporting and moderation pages, and audio Spaces in Communities, among other things.

The post suggests a new user interface for posts and replies may be on the way, too.

X did not return requests for comment about an ETA for any of the items listed as coming “soon.”





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