Imgur will ban explicit images on its platform this month

Image hosting platform Imgur is set to ban explicit images on its platform from May 15. The company updated its terms of service and said that the company will focus on removing “nudity, pornography, & sexually explicit content” from the site later this month.

The MediaLab-owned company said that explicit content formed a risk to Imgur’s “community and its business” and disallowing such stuff will “protect the future of the Imgur community.”

The image hosting platform said that it will still allow artistic nudity but as it is switching to a mix of automatic and human moderation, there might be issues in uploading certain content.

“Artistic nudity will continue to be permitted, as it was permitted under the Rules previously – however, since we’re calibrating automated detection in these early stages, some content that may have been permitted under ‘artistic exceptions’ previously may not apply here. We will not be issuing any warnings, account suspensions, or bans in relation to these automated flags – but this may impact what is allowed to be submitted or uploaded,” Imgur said in its blog post.

As Christian Selig, the developer behind Reddit client Apollo, pointed out, this change might impact several NSFW subreddits that rely on Imgur for explicit image hosting. Many Reddit users are familiar with Imgur because Reddit didn’t support image uploads at first. Users would rely on Imgur to upload images and then share them on Reddit.

In 2018, Imgur stopped displaying images and search queries related to NSFW Reddit communities on Imgur’s website. At the time, the company said that explicit images were still allowed but had to be marked as “hidden”.

The same year, Tumblr famously banned porn from its platform to comply with Apple’s App Store rules. Last year, the company introduced a “Community Labels” feature to let users filter out sensitive content easily.

In addition to explicit images, Imgur is also removing old and unused photos that are not tied to an account. As a Twitter user noted, Imgur has been used for years to upload photos without an account and post links to different kinds of sites. Removing those images might result in a lot of dead links all over the internet.

We have asked the company to specify what is the definition of an “old and unused” photo and will update the story if we hear back.

Notably, in 2017, another hosting service called Photobucket changed its terms and required users to get a $40 per month subscription to enable third-party hosting. This resulted in several broken links across many sites.