Discord banning NSFW servers from being accessed on iOS devices

Gaming-focused chat app Discord will be banning access to NSFW (not safe for work) tagged servers on iOS devices. The Discord banning NSFW server access on iOS looks to be the company’s way of complying with Apple’s existing policies on NSFW content.

The latest update to Discord allows users to mark servers as NSFW if their community is “organized around NSFW themes or if the majority of the server’s content is 18+.” The NSFW label will also be a requirement going forward.

Prior to this change, Discord had allowed individual channels inside servers to be marked as NSFW and age-gated.

Discord’s new NSFW marker for servers prevents anyone under 18-years of age from joining, outside of iOS devices. On iOS, NSFW servers cannot be accessed at all in what seems to be a move meant to cater to Apple’s strict and often prudish rules around services in its App Store. These same rules are what led art-based social media app Tumblr to wipe all NSFW content from its entire platform some years ago.

iOS’s Developer Guidelines to allow for “incidental” NSFW content if it’s hidden by default and only displayed when an option is ticked from an external website. With this in mind, Discord banning NSFW servers—and the communities in these servers—from iOS outright does feel like a lazy solution from the company. (Read: Apple cutting off Epic’s Unreal Engine from iOS and Mac)

Currently, the only workaround for iOS users to acccess NSFW servers is to access Discord via Safari other browsers, though this solution falls short of the full-featured mobile app.

Servers and communities that try to skirt the rule by not marking themselves as NSFW won’t be safe as well. Discord states that it will proactively apply the NSFW label to any servers that try servers that fail to do so. Discord servers are deemed NSFW if they carry any adult content, including avatars, server banners, and invite splashes.

Individual channels can still be designated as NSFW without having to apply the label to the entire server. But this is only if the rest of the server isn’t centered around NSFW themes.

Unsurprisingly, there’s been tremendous pushback from Discord users, especially those who rely on it for generating revenue. The latter includes artists who draw NSFW illustrations that run their own servers. Meanwhile, quite a few people have also threatened to move to leave Apple’s ecosystem and move to Android instead.

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Franz Co

managing editor | addicted to RGB | plays too many fighting games

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