The popular image hosting website, Imgur, has announced an update to its terms of service. It states that all explicit images must be removed by May 15. This comes as another blow to the adult community online, as the provider was one of the last major players that still stood strong for what was once known as the free Internet.
Imgur has announced it will use both automatic detection software and human moderation to detect and remove banned content. The company has stated that it plans to delete old and inactive content, as well as nudity, pornography and sexually explicit material, with a particular focus on content that is clearly pornographic.
The reason for deleting adult content, according to Imgur, is a desire to protect the community and the company from the risks posed by explicit and illegal content. Ultimately, this likely refers to pressure from the company’s financial partners, as anti-porn activists have recognized for a number of years that the most effective way to pressure large corporations is in the financial arena. Even large social media providers find themselves unable to maintain the Internet as a free place for expression in the face of the loss of their financial infrastructures.
It is quite conceivable that the parent company Medialab AI saw short-term risks for its own business activities from the liberal course at Imgur and thus imposed the new policy on its subsidiary.
Imgur had gained a good reputation especially among Reddit users, where the website was often used for sharing links to NSFW content. On the community forum platform, Imgur has become the primary tool for uploading NSFW images, as Reddit itself also does not allow explicit content uploaded directly to the platform itself.
The updated guidelines clarify what is and is not allowed on Imgur. Previously, explicit/pornographic content was allowed on the site, but only as comments or gallery posts. This caused frustration among users who received content violations for material they had posted elsewhere outside the site.
Nudity in the context of artistic expression should still be allowed, as it was previously in the rules. While Imgur will not issue any warnings, account suspensions, or bans related to these automatic flags, it may impact what is allowed to be submitted or uploaded.
If users experience problems uploading content that is erroneously flagged as explicit content, they are asked to contact Imgur’s support team.
The company seems aware that this move could alienate a large portion of its existing users, and is trying to make the changes sound as soft as possible. A similar approach had led to the crash into insignificance of the former social media giant tumblr in the past.