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X is testing NSFW adult communities, according to screenshots

X is living up to its name. The platform, formerly Twitter, is working on an addition to its Communities feature that would let X users create groups for X-rated material, according to app researchers.

Researcher Daniel Buchuk of Watchful, which analyzes app development and performance, spotted the feature in development. He shared screenshots with TechCrunch exclusively that show what X's NSFW Communities could look like.

Image Credits: Watchful (opens in a new window)

An independent researcher, Nima Owji, also spotted the feature in development last month.

Twitter introduced its Communities feature in 2021. It allows users to post within smaller, interest-based subgroups, like a subreddit. When Elon Musk bought Twitter in 2022, he enacted sweeping changes to the app's brand identity, verification systems and creator monetization efforts — but some features, like Communities, remained stagnant.

X also hasn't taken much initiative in working with its sizable population of online sex workers, who turn to the platform — one of few that allows adult content — to promote their paid offerings from sites like OnlyFans.

“Twitter really is the primary advertising venue at this point for sex workers,” Dr. Olivia Snow, a dominatrix and researcher at UCLA's Center for Critical Internet Inquiry, told TechCrunch last year. So, the platform's more lenient policy on adult content is critical for online sex workers to grow their businesses.

X did not reply to a request for comment.

Adult creators are allowed to post explicit content on X, though they can't monetize it on the platform. But if they can create their own fan communities, this feature could give creators a more direct way to reach their audience.

Even though X seems to be working on this NSFW Communities feature, that doesn't mean it'll come to fruition. Shortly after Musk took control of the platform, reverse engineers uncovered possible features that would allow creators to monetize paywalled videos or charge money for DMs. These mock-ups looked similar to features on OnlyFans, which could be a strategy for Musk to recoup his $44 billion investment: monetizing "X videos."

But as it stands, X doesn't seem poised to reverse its stance on adult content monetization. Even before Musk's takeover, Twitter had been working on an OnlyFans competitor, but it was shelved because Twitter could not adequately detect non-consensual content and child sexual exploitation (CSE). But X says it's mitigating that dire problem. According to X CEO Linda Yaccarino, in 2023 the platform suspended 12.4 million accounts for violating child sexual exploitation policies, up from 2.3 million accounts removed in 2022.