Image host and social medium Imgur is going to tighten its rules considerably when it comes to pornographic material and uploads that are done without an account. Nudity, sexually explicit material and porn are no longer allowed in many cases from May 15.
Imgur says the usage agreement to align the site with the community rules. These apply to what Imgur calls the ‘public gallery’, and elsewhere on the site the ‘community’. It is also possible to only upload to a profile, then the image is in principle only visible to users with a link. Finally, uploading without an account, regardless of whether the image ends up on the public gallery, is possible at least at the time of writing.
Community rules prohibit nudity, pornography, and sexually explicit material. There are exceptions for artistic, scientific and educational images of naked people. Imgur also approves of a bare behind that is shown without erotic intentions, for example.
Although pornographic material is not available on Imgur’s public gallery, it is on the site. Users who upload such material hotlink to it on pornographic subreddits, for example. This is still possible now, but will no longer be possible under the new rules. This must be enforced with a combination of automatic and manual moderation.
‘Accountless’ uploads also at risk, but wording not crystal clear
Imgur goes on to say that it targets “old, unused, and inactive content that is not associated with a user account on our platform.” Strictly speaking, it seems that ‘accountless’ uploads on the platform will not be removed unless they do not meet a certain threshold of views and are already older. However, it may also be the case that meeting a single criterion from Imgur’s quote already means that deletion will take place, which would mean that all accountless uploads will be deleted sooner or later.
Imgur justifies the policy change in the announcement by saying it wants to create more clarity with a clearer policy, so not split into a user agreement and community rules. It goes on to say, “Explicit and illegal content has historically posed a risk to Imgur’s community and its business. Banning explicit content allows Imgur to address these risks and safeguard the future of the Imgur community.” The community rules already noted: “Imgur welcomes a diverse audience. We don’t want to create a bad experience for someone who comes across graphic images, nor is it part of our company ethos to support explicit content, so some lascivious or sexualized posts are not Allowed.”
Imgur is a very popular destination for easy and fast uploading and sharing of pictures, animated pictures and videos with others. 173,438 posts on GoT have imgur.com in their content, as a link or embed. The site started as a project of a student who found similar services unfriendly to use. The service is also widely used with Reddit posts, but that diminished when Reddit came out with its native image host in 2016. MediaLab AI, Inc. acquired Imgur in 2021. That company owns Genius, WorldstarHipHop and Kik, among others.
Imgur is not the first image host to take such measures. A well-known example is Tumblr, which banned porn images in 2018. OnlyFans also made this decision, but reversed it. Other well-known image hosts from the past are Tinypic, which eventually saw the costs for the free site rise too high, and sister site Photobucket, which fell out of favor because it suddenly charged a lot of money for previously free services. Imgur is also free, but offers a paid option to remove advertising.