Hey, Reddit NSFW Communities: Imgur's Sick of Your Smut

By Alyse Stanley on at

Image-sharing site Imgur announced this week that it’s distancing itself from Reddit’s smuttier corners and will no longer display content from the forum’s NSFW communities.

“Over the years, these pages have put Imgur’s user growth, mission, and business at risk,” the site’s blog post reads. “We want Imgur to be a fun and entertaining place that brings happiness to the Internet for many, many years to come.”

To be clear, Imgur’s not kicking any images off its platform, so the internet’s net spank bank material remains unchanged. All previously uploaded content will stay at its original URL, but now if you search for r/NSFW or any other Reddit subsection focused on child-unfriendly content, you’ll hit a new landing page instead.

“As of Oct 2019, Imgur will no longer display NSFW Imgur r/subsections associated with Reddit subreddits,” the page reads. It also offers links to a few third-party options to use instead. That’s not to say Imgur has banned NSFW uploads wholesale, users will just have to mark these pictures as “hidden” from now on. This keeps it from showing up in Imgur’s public gallery community and will also prompt future viewers to log in and confirm they’re at least 18 before gaining access.

Founded in 2009, Imgur started out as Reddit’s de facto image sharing and hosting site, though it’s since developed its own dedicated fanbase. One large enough to keep the site averaging 274 million monthly visits even after Reddit integrated native image hosting in 2016, a move that cost Imgur roughly one-quarter of its monthly submissions to Reddit according to one data scientist.

It feels quintessential of our current online climate that these two sites would become divided over smutty pictures given how self-aware social media platforms have recently become when it comes to moderating NSFW content as authorities across the globe continue to debate what user-uploaded content a site is or isn’t responsible for hosting.

In December, Tumblr instated an outright porn ban after being pulled from the Apple App Store briefly as it tackled its child porn problem. It was a bold move that’s proven pretty disastrous for the platform so far, causing an exodus of users and huge financial loss for Verizon.

Since Imgur seems like it’s taking a more targeted approach to its moderation, though, this news likely won’t set off its fanbase to such an extent. I mean, hopefully. This is the internet we’re talking about, after all.