Censorship

'NSFW Advertising' Banned From Reddit

Subreddits on sexual themes will also be banned from running ads.

|

An update quietly posted to the Reddit ad forum yesterday details a huge shift in rules for those wishing to advertise on the site. As of this week, Reddit is no longer allowing "ads for adult-oriented products and services," nor will it allow any advertising to appear on subreddits that it deems "Not Safe for Work" (NSFW).

"Additionally, NSFW subreddits will be removed from any campaign that may have targeted them previously, and campaigns will no longer accrue clicks or impressions on those subreddits," the site says.

Reddit defines "adult-oriented products and services" as any "pornographic or sexually explicit content, as well as adult sexual recreational content, products, or services." This is not just about blocking really explicit images or possibly illegal conduct but everything related to sex and sexuality.

Sex toys, dirty books, kink groups, strip clubs, and erotic art are just a few subjects that would seem to be banned from advertising on Reddit now.

Ads for condoms and contraception should still be allowed, under an exception for "ads pertaining to products for the prevention of pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted infections."

Erectile dysfunction drug ads are also OK.

Reddit did not offer a reason for the rule change, but it's far from alone in recent crackdowns on all sorts of content related to sex. As platforms strive to keep up with an array of new tech regulations—from America's ban on ads that facilitate prostitution under FOSTA to new "privacy"and "hate speech" laws in the European Union, a British ban on showing porn without checking viewers' ages, and more—anything that might get above a PG rating is being quickly wiped clean from the internet.

Last week Instagram announced a crackdown on "inappropriate" contentthings that fail to trigger a full ban under the app's community guidelines but that someone at Facebook (Instagram's parent company) feels uneasy about. "That means if a post is sexually suggestive, but doesn't depict a sex act or nudity, it could still get demoted," pointed out TechCrunch. "Similarly, if a meme doesn't constitute hate speech or harassment, but is considered in bad taste, lewd, violent or hurtful, it could get fewer views."

Last December, Tumblr announced a ban on all sexually explicit content. By February 2019, its traffic had plummeted by almost a third.

Advertisement

NEXT: The First Amendment and the Hybrid Permanent Injunction

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. How is reddit gonna pay the bills if they don’t get click revenue from the ads they’ve banned?

    1. Taxing the rich?

    2. I suspect this is all the behest of other advertisers, who want to advertise on reddit, but they’re afraid that their advertising will show up next to content with which they do not want their brand to be associated.

      When’s the last time you saw McDonalds or Coca Cola advertise on something sexually explicit?

      1. Reason has all sorts of ads and this place is about as sexually dirty as Crusty going to town on a dead Notre Dame Nun.

        1. They don’t have many ads here, and the ones they have aren’t of the premium variety.

          Jerry Springer gets ads from PI attorneys, pay day lenders, and others. They don’t pay as much as if you get from McDonalds, Nestle, Ford, and Proctor & Gamble.

          If you want premium advertisers to pay premium prices, you gotta clean it up. Those guys don’t want to be associated with vibrators and dildos. I’m trying to imagine some guy writing a reddit post about how he gave himself herpes by jacking off after scratching at the cold sore on his lip with an ad at the top saying, “Arby’s, We have the Meats!”. Arby’s isn’t paying to be associated with that. If you threaten them, they might pay you not to put their advertising anywhere near content like that, but then you open yourself up to extortion charges.

  2. This is a good thing. Some of us browse Reddit at work, and not safe for work means… not safe for work.

    This is a private company and make it’s own rules. And it’s a good rule because most social media sites don’t want to get the reputation of being that kind of site.

  3. Some people want to peruse sexually themed forums on the internet?

    It’s madness!

  4. This weird return to prudity is weird. It must be some kind of backlash, these things usually are. Makes me want to joke about the British royal family should have a daughter and name her Victoria, but there’s just Charles and his two sons, no princesses in line until this prudity is over, one can hope.

    What puzzles me is what it’s backlash against, and if it is part and parcel of the safe space SJW nonsense. I could understand a backlash against the current looseness, but that looseness goes back over a century — the 1920s were just a continuation of pre-war campaigns, boosted by women gaining power due to the lack of men requiring / enabling them to step up. But then the temperance brigade was closely associated with women’s suffrage, and the 1920s also saw Prohibition in the US, which had its own backlash in the 1934 repeal while women’s right continued increasing, and contraception in the 1960s came after Playboy in the 1950s, all a continuing rise(!) in sexual looseness.

    Why the SJW stuff now? #MeToo is a reaction, not a cause. The whole thing is a mystery to me.

    1. I’ve noticed an increase in anti-erotica by publishers and media over the years too.

      1. The “anti-erotica” faction on the right has never really gone away, but couldn’t make much headway when the left was broadly anti-censorship and, at worst, indifferent to the matter. With increased acceptance of censorship on the left in the interest of “protecting people from distress”, as well as opposition to “objectification” in certain feminist circles, has come a certain “Baptists and bootleggers” coalition that’s revived media prudishness.

        1. Probably so. I guess it’s all down to the ctrl-left returning to its authoritarian roots after finally giving up the pretense of believing in liberty.

          1. Junior Anti-Sex League, a la 1984. All part of the progressive agenda.

        2. This sounds about right to me.

    2. Part of it is just the Internet maturing, I think. All of these companies that are getting big want to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. And in media that often means getting rid of or putting less emphasis on your “edgy” content so you can get the big money ads.

    3. We might be witnessing a global merger of sexual norms before the new average marches once again towards libertarian attitudes. People in many countries are gaining access to porn and relationships without match-makers.

  5. Newest must have furniture item, fainting couches! No longer just for women either!

  6. NSFW = Now Start Furious Wanking

  7. I kind of feel like this article should have a disclaimer regarding Reason’s advertising policies. Would Reason allow these ads that are now banned on Reddit? I confess, I’m skeptical that it would.

  8. Lest we think this is some return to puritanical purity, let’s not forget when the internet itself was ‘NSFW’. ‘NSFW’ in the sense that, “If you want to keep your don’t get caught screwing around on the internet.”

    A big part of the push to make the internet ‘SFW’ is because increasingly people are actually working there and don’t want naked people dancing on their desktop. We may not mind sex work, but few of us actually want to do it for a living.

  9. Reddit is the worst place on the internet.

    1. Bold statement for an internet that also includes 4Chan and 8Chan.

  10. Maybe it is best if the X-Rated websites don’t show up on mobile phones. I mean, either you are at home and have access to a desktop for some private browsing or you are outside and should keep your pants on. Using a mobile phone in bed is like trying to get something done with one hand tied behind your back.

  11. […] It’s just going to keep getting worse: […]

  12. […] à tester /r/votrechoix sur Google. Attention, la politique locale est en train de se durcir : le site vient tout juste d’interdire les publicités graveleuses, et les subrreddits NSFW sont maintenant privés de […]

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.