X-rated illustration. [iStockphoto]

The social media network X (formally Twitter) has officially allowed adult content to be posted on the site.

New changes to the platform’s rules will reportedly let NSFW (Not Safe For Work Content) be shown, “although it’s ‘low-key’ always been there,” per entertainment news website TMZ.

“People have been sharing explicit porn on Elon Musk's social media platform for a while now since there were no rules against it. But, over the weekend, the site officially announced X-rated content is now allowed,” the report says.

The app updated its Adult Content Policy: "You may share consensually produced and distributed adult nudity or sexual behaviour, provided it's properly labelled and not prominently displayed."

The updated policy further notes: “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. Sexual expression, whether visual or written, can be a legitimate form of artistic expression.”

“We believe in the autonomy of adults to engage with and create content that reflects their own beliefs, desires, and experiences, including those related to sexuality.”

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The changes will allow people to view adult content via an opt-in system which is supposed to block out those under the age of 18 years.

X is encouraging users who regularly post adult content on the platform to adjust their media settings that will place “all your images and videos behind a content warning that needs to be acknowledged before your media can be viewed.” (The setting is under “Privacy and safety > Your posts,” where you can enable the option that says “Mark media you post as containing material that may be sensitive,” Variety reports.

“[The policy changes] come as regulator pressure grows for platforms around the world to prevent children from accessing inappropriate content on social media,” The Guardian reports.

Multiple tech websites note that the social networking site has long had NSFW communities interacting on the platform, like how it remains a key distribution platform for sex workers who use subscription services like Only Fans.

“In the past, X didn’t explicitly ban porn. It became a home for some NSFW creators following the launch of Twitter Blue (now X Premium), as creators could encourage followers to pay to view content, similar to OnlyFans. NSFW content could be another form of revenue for X, which has seen a dip in ad sales following Elon Musk’s takeover,” The Verge reports.

Teenagers have reportedly been exposed to more explicit content on X than on adult websites, according to a January 2023 research conducted by the UK Children’s Commissioner.

Fight The New Drug, an anti-pornography non-profit organization argues that there is a serious porn problem on popular social media platforms.

“With huge numbers of users comes huge amounts of responsibility, and it looks like not a single site has developed a porn-proof filtering system or thorough enough moderation team,” the lobby group reports on its website.

Most social networking sites have put measures in place to streamline their policies on adult content to protect children, but often, rule-breaking users find a way to publish explicit content without following guidelines.

“We are mindful that certain content may not be suitable for young people, may be considered offensive by some, or may create the potential for exploitation,” TikTok notes under the Sensitive and Mature Themes policy category.

Under the policy on Sexually Suggestive Content, the popular social networking site notes: “Content is restricted (18 years and older) and ineligible for the FYP if it shows intimate kissing, sexualized framing, or sexualised behaviour by adults, or if it shows sex products.”

Facebook restricts the display of nudity and sexual activity "because some audiences within our global community may be sensitive to this type of content, particularly because of their cultural background or age. However, people sometimes share content containing nudity for purposes such as awareness campaigns or artistic projects," per the Meta Business Help Centre.

About 13 per cent of posts on  X in 2022 contained adult content, according to a Reuters report that cited internal company documents.

“Adult content on X has seemingly gone up since then, especially as porn bots have proliferated on the platform,” Tech Crunch reports on the move by X to formally allow porn, noting that it may allow for better regulation for the sake of all social media users.

“Now that the social network is formally allowing adult content, regulators will no doubt be keeping a keen eye on X and its efforts to weed out non-consensual porn and child sexual abuse material (CSAM). Last October, Australia fined X for failing to provide information about child abuse content, and around the same time, India notified multiple social networks, including X, to remove CSAM from their platforms.”