X is testing ‘adult content’ communities, screenshots suggest

29 Mar 2024

Image: © sdx15/Stock.adobe.com

Screenshots suggest X is planning to let users create ‘not suitable for work’ communities, while recent data suggest its userbase has dropped significantly since the end of 2022.

X appears to be honing in on its X-rated name, as screenshots suggest the platform is testing new features that focus on adult content.

The screenshots were shared by researcher Daniel Buchuk of Watchful, a site that tracks app development testing. The screenshots – shared with TechCrunch and Bloomberg – suggest users will be able to create or join communities that focus on adult content.

These images suggest users will need to enable adult – or NSFW (not safe for work) – content on their community, otherwise it would be subject to “automatic filtering “ of all adult-sensitive content. Independent app researcher Nima Owji also shared a similar screenshot last month on X, including an example of what it may look like “on the Community page”.

There is no timeframe for when – or if – this feature will be released. The site was reportedly working on adult content during its Twitter era – in the form of an OnlyFans competitor – but this was shelved over concerns of harmful sexual content.

X is already one of the few major social media platforms that allows adult content – the platform says it restricts the promotion of adult sexual content but various replies on the site show users promoting their own adult content.

Dr Olivia Snow, a dominatrix and researcher at UCLA’s Center for Critical Internet Inquiry, told TechCrunch last year that the site is “the primary advertising venue at this point for sex workers”.

Dwindling users

X’s motive for potentially focusing more on adult content is unclear, but it could be used as a potential way to draw new users to the platform.

The site has been facing criticism since Elon Musk took over in 2022, but the impact to its user base was unclear. However, recently released data suggests the number of daily users on the platform has dropped significantly since Musk’s takeover.

Figures shared by CNBC suggest X’s daily users in the US dropped by 23pc between Musk’s takeover and February 2024.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic