X's Clarification of Adult Content Policy Triggers International Confusion

X's Clarification of Adult Content Policy Triggers International Confusion

JAKARTA, Indonesia — X’s recent clarification of its adult content policies has created confusion in countries with strict anti-porn laws, such as Indonesia, especially considering that X owner Elon Musk has stated that the limits of his “free speech absolutism” for the platform formerly known as Twitter are the laws of each country.

As XBIZ reported, earlier this month X updated its adult content rules, aiming to clarify how NSFW content may be posted and viewed.

The new policy states that users “may share consensually produced and distributed adult nudity or sexual behavior, provided it’s properly labeled and not prominently displayed.” 

The policy also established a specific “Adult Content” warning, instead of the generic “Sensitive Media” label.

“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,” the policy statement explained. “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.”

But in countries like Indonesia, where all sexual expression is considered obscene and heavily criminalized, X’s new explicitly stated policies — which merely clarify standards that have long been the status quo for the platform — have had the collateral result of flagging the dormant issue of “porn on Twitter” to local authorities.

Indonesia’s Communications and Informatics Minister Budi Arie Setiadi said last week that X “has to abide by the country’s laws, which prohibit the dissemination of pornographic content, if it does not want to be sanctioned or banned,” the Straits Times reported.

Indonesia currently blocks Reddit, Steam and even PayPal, considering them officially “problematic online platforms.”

On Monday, Setiadi announced that he had sent an official letter to X, “conveying his concerns, and reiterated that Indonesia will block access to the platform if it displays such content,” the report added.

As of publication, X has not offered a response.

Though adult industry stakeholders report that not much has changed in their access to and relationship with X after the policy clarification, concerns remain about the potential for geoblocks of areas where adult content is currently prohibited. 

Those concerns seem borne out by Musk’s past statement that the platform would “respect the speech laws of each country” so that the platform he purchased in October 2022 will not become “a free-for-all hellscape,” the Financial Times reported.

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