No, Twitter Did Not Just Ban Porn, Sex Workers, or Pictures of Lingerie

Photo: AP

Despite what you may have read, Twitter has not rolled out new rules banning porn or pictures of lingerie across its platform.

“These Are Twitter’s New Rules For Preventing Abuse And Harassment,” BuzzFeed News reported Friday morning, spurring a shitstorm as its readers perused the fine print. The “adult or sexual products and services” section caused the biggest commotion, with the ban on “lingerie” seeming especially outrageous.

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But there are no “new” Twitter rules and the ones outlined by BuzzFeed have existed since at least 2013; basically ab aeterno in internet years.

Word that Twitter had banned porn—particularly amid more exigent concerns about literal Nazis with Twitter accounts, as well as the company’s role in spreading Russian-bought election propaganda—caused an immediate visceral reaction:

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“To clarify, none of these rules are new,” a Twitter spokesperson told Gizmodo (emphasis theirs). “These are our existing policies, but today we are making both our policies and expectations more clear.”

“With today’s update we are making it clear that context—including if the behavior is targeted, if a report has been filed and by whom, and if the Tweet itself is newsworthy and in the legitimate public interest—is crucial when evaluating abusive behavior and determining appropriate enforcement actions,” Twitter added.

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What’s more, the rules have only ever applied to advertisements—and nothing about that has changed, either. You’ve simply never been able to buy ads marketing porn, sex work, or use images or videos deemed sexually explicit in ads. No dildos or contraceptives, too.

So for Ted Cruz’s interns (wink) and all others for whom Twitter serves as a top smut destination, don’t fret baby.

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Twitter says it plans to provide additional details concerning how it reviews and enforces its policies in a separate update coming November 14th.

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About the author

Dell Cameron

Privacy, security, tech policy | Got a tip? Email: dell@gizmodo.com | Send me encrypted texts using Signal: (202)556-0846

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