Discord NSFW Ban Now Not as Bad as it First Seemed On iOS


by in General | Apr, 19th 2021

Update, 4/19: Discord has announced that they are loosening some of these restrictions as a result of feedback from their community. Now, only servers focused on “explicit pornographic content” will be fully blocked from being accessed through the apps on iOS. Other NSFW servers will still be blocked by default, but users will be able to opt in to viewing them.

Apple’s iOS restrictions have seemingly struck again as Discord now has to place limitations on some users’ NSFW experiences, especially in the area of underage users. 

This is being done through new age gates on NSFW servers from iOS devices. The label won’t be optional and some users are seeing this as a huge change in censorship from the platform. This is seemingly being done in order to satisfy iOS’ restrictions, which in the past was done to Tumblr in order to comply with these rules, when they wiped adult content from the platform entirely. 

Some users have said this is an issue because they have to monitor their platform from iOS and this could hinder them from doing that, while others have said they’ll be swapping to Android to get around the new rules.  Whether this actively limits communities from producing NSFW content or not remains to be seen, of course, but age gates on NSFW content on other platforms are nothing new – many websites require you to at least somewhat confirm you are 18 to view things that are mature, including YouTube. 

Here’s How Discord Defines a Server as NSFW

Here’s what Discord defines as a NSFW server according to their announcement:

Servers must be classified as NSFW if the community is organized around NSFW themes or if the majority of the server’s content is focused on 18+ content,” they said in their release. “Discord will mark servers meeting these criteria as NSFW if they are not appropriately designated. We will notify server owners letting them know if their server has been impacted through a system message.”

Of course, with as many servers as Discord has in their network, they will be relying on server owners to self-identify as a NSFW server. This ability isn’t available yet, but will be “soon” according to their release. 

In order to make a Discord account, you are supposed to be 13 in the first place, which means that users between the ages of 13 and 17 will be unable to view the content in these servers on iOS devices. The new rules around the designation of NSFW channels are as follows:

  • 18+ users attempting to join or access new NSFW Discord servers on iOS will be required to opt-in to viewing NSFW content on desktop before being allowed into these spaces.
  • Additionally, a subset of NSFW servers that are specifically focused on explicit pornographic content will be blocked entirely on iOS. iOS users aged 18+ will only be able to join and access these dedicated pornography servers on the desktop and web versions of Discord.
  • All Discord server owners must still apply NSFW gates to channels with mature content. 

Having NSFW channels in a server does not, however, automatically mean that an entire server should be designated NSFW,” Discord said in their statement. “An NSFW designation is only necessary if the majority of the server’s content is focused on 18+ content.

Server Owners Can Appeal This Designation

If a server owner mistakenly believes that their channel has been identified as a NSFW channel in mistake, Discord has put a process in place to get rid of the tag, but it has to be reviewed by Discord staff. 

The process, as Discord defined it, as as followed:

Server owners can write in to Trust & Safety’s support queue here:

  • Select “Appeal my server’s NSFW designation”
  • Enter the required details of the server
  • Server owners should provide their server’s ID as well as an explanation why their community should be considered safe-for-work (SFW). We cannot accept server-level appeals from anyone besides the server owner. Communities determined to be SFW will have the NSFW designation removed — at which time users between the ages of 13 and 17 will be allowed to rejoin.

Of course, users can also change their age, but they have to submit proof that their age was entered in error and that they are actually of age in order to get around the new restrictions.

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