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Imgur says goodbye to sexually explicit content (unless it’s arty)

US image sharing and hosting site Imgur has announced that it’ll purge porn and other sexually explicit content from the platform, as part of new terms and conditions coming into effect on May 15, 2023.

Founded in 2009, Imgur is known for hosting memes and viral images, as well as being used to link images from Reddit. The company stated it’s making the move because explicit content poses a risk to Imgur’s community. But don’t worry, “artistic nudity” will still be allowed on the site.

Previously, porn had been allowed on Imgur, although not in images submitted as a comment on the platform or as a gallery submission.

Without specifying the exact “risks” to users, Imgur explained that banning explicit content will help address these risks and protect the future of the Imgur community. Announcing the move, Imgur bosses said the changes are essential for Imgur’s ongoing efforts to “remain a safe and fun space on the internet”.

Imgur isn’t just targeting porn and nudity images. The platform is also set to remove swathes of “old, unused, and inactive content that isn’t tied to a user account.”

Imgur is encouraging users to download any content that might be removed before the new terms and conditions kick in on May 15, 2023.

The bigger picture: Beyond the Imgur porn ban

With social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram having strict anti-porn and nudity policies, Imgur was one of the few mainstream sharing platforms still tolerating sexually explicit content. We’ve seen a recent trend of online platforms cracking down on explicit content; even auction site eBay banned “sexually oriented materials” in 2021.

In 2022, Tumblr allowed nudity and content with “sexual themes” back on the platform, partially reversing a ban on sexually explicit content introduced in 2018.

Author and activist Jillian York, who works with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Wired that Imgur’s porn ban “would definitely have a ripple effect… sexual expression is very important.”

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Jamie F
Jamie F

Jamie is a freelance writer, contributing to outlets such as The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, CNN and Vice, among others. He is also the creative force behind the Audible podcast Beast Master.

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