While the Elon Musk-owned social media platform X, formerly Twitter, has informally allowed users to post adult content on the site, a recently published policy update specifically defines the rules for porn postings with some restrictions including, according to X, blocked access for users under 18 and adults who prefer not to see explicit content.

“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,” reads a new posting to X’s Help Center page. “Sexual expression, whether visual or written, can be a legitimate form of artistic expression.

“We also prohibit content promoting exploitation, nonconsent, objectification, sexualization or harm to minors, and obscene behaviors. We also do not allow sharing Adult Content in highly visible places such as profile photos or banners.”

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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.” The definition also applies to AI-generated, photographic or animated content such as cartoons, hentai or anime, according to X.

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“The platform’s move to allow ‘adult content’ dovetails well with the company’s post-Musk marketing strategy,” Brooke Erin Duffy, associate professor of communication at Cornell University, told The Associated Press. “X is unapologetically provocative and has sought to distinguish itself from ‘brand safe’ competitors.”

X is directing users who post adult content to adjust their media settings, a move that places images and videos behind a content warning that needs to be acknowledged by other users before the posted media can be viewed. Individual posts can also be labeled with the “adult content” warning. X says it is monitoring content and will “adjust account settings” for those users who fail to do so.

X has replaced its previous “sensitive content” label with the new “adult content” label as well as a “violent content” label that the platform says “covers violent speech and violent media to allow for a more holistic approach to combating violence in all forms.”

In 2023, Utah legislators passed a law requiring age verification for adult websites though it’s not clear how, or if, it will apply to X under the platform’s new guidelines. In the 2024 legislative session, lawmakers updated a bill that requires social media platforms to verify the ages of their users and provide supervisory tools that a Utah minor could enable for a parent or guardian. The new social media age verification requirement goes into effect on Oct. 1.

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