Imgur Bans NSFW: A Look at the Alternatives

Heard the news that Imgur has jumped on the band wagon and decided to ban porn too>

As of 14th October 2019, the popular image-sharing service Imgur will no longer display NSFW subreddits on its platform. The decision has been taken by the company in a bid to prevent this kind of adult material from putting its “business at risk”. Following the trend of many other tech companies, this move means that no new r/subreddits can use Imgur for file hosting and all existing pages of this kind can now only be viewed using secure age-verified log ins.

In this guide, we take a look at the decision made by Imgur to ‘discontinue’ support for NSFW subreddits and what alternatives there are for this kind of content.

What is Imgur?

Imgur is an image-sharing site that has become popular primarily due to its fun family content or amusing GIFs, ‘cute’ cat pics and memes. It was originally designed as a tool to be used by the Reddit community as a way to host files rather than simply sharing links through Reddit and evolved into a really useful way or curating images and organizing these into folders.

imgur bans nsfw content

Originally developed as a solution to hosting issues with Reddit, Imgur has developed into a service of its own that is now at odds with the NSFW-friendly Reddit. Image via Flickr.

The site allowed users to see at a glance all of the images posted to a subreddit without having to trawl through the text, click on URLs and try to filter to the good stuff. It was an amazing time-saver and really provided Redditors with a decent way to appreciate and enjoy the content being shared through their groups.

Over the years Imgur has changed from being a simple tool for image hosting, sharing and organization and has become something of a proto-Reddit with its own community and business model…..one which is at odds to the NSFW communities of Reddit.

From its inception in 2009 when it started with a few thousand hits a day, the site now receives well over 270 million visitors each month. Imgur is ranked the top file sharing website in the world and is the 59th most visited website in the United States (109th globally). It therefore takes the future of its business very seriously which is why it should come as no surprise that it has decided to discontinue hosting NSFW subreddits.

Imgur has made the decision to stop displaying any more NSFW subreddits with the following statement:

As of October 14, 2019, Imgur will no longer display NSFW Imgur r/subsections associated with Reddit subreddits. Over the years, these pages have put Imgur’s user growth, mission, and business at risk. We want Imgur to be a fun and entertaining place that brings happiness to the Internet for many, many years to come. Thus, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue support for these subsections on Imgur.

imgur bans porn

Visitors to any Imgur subreddits will now be greeted by this holding page. Image via Imgur.

So, does this mean that all subreddits that use Imgur to host images will be left up shit creek without a paddle?

Not for the immediate future.

Imgur has said that no content will be moved or deleted and will all still be available to view at the original URL. However, they have declared that all pages known to contain content which is NSFW in nature will now require users to log-in and verify their age in order to view it.

They have also confirmed that:

It is still permitted to upload legal NSFW content with the ‘Hidden’ privacy status on Imgur. NSFW content is not permitted in Imgur’s public gallery community.

Why Has Imgur Banned NSFW Content?

There has been a trend of late that has seen many tech companies take a stand against pornography and adult content on its services.

In December 2018, the popular (and previously porn-friendly) microblogging website Tumblr decided to ban porn from its pages. This follows stands made by Twitter and Facebook and even PayPal.

best alternatives to tumblr porn ban

Since Tumblr decided to ban porn, Reddit has been inundated with new users but could Tumblr’s NSFW refugees have chosen the wrong ship? Image via Flickr.

What Will The Impact Be On Reddit?

It’s hard to say what the long-term impact for Reddit will be after this decision but the initial feeling in the tech community is that there may be a slight blip but that the social news aggregation site will be able to ride this out quite easily.

Though the initial connection between Reddit and Imgur was a symbiotic one, Reddit now has its own native image hosting and many r/subreddits created since 2016 shouldn’t be impacted by this decision.

However, there is some concern that this may be the thin end of the wedge and many Redditors are looking for alternatives just in case Reddit decides to follow suit but also to provide continuity for new content with a site/platform that is NSFW-friendly.

Alternatives to Imgur for NSFW

With all the drama of Imgur abandoning its support for NSFW Reddit content, what alternatives are there for image hosting and sharing or even replacements for Reddit itself?

Fortunately, Redditors are a proactive bunch and, you’ve guessed it, there’s an Imgur Alternatives subreddit already well advanced in its suggestions and advice. In fact, there’s quite a discussion going on about the future of NSFW content right across potentially affected subreddits. The popular r/Drama subreddit is fast becoming a focus page for Imgur related rants and new information.

imgur alternatives nsfw ban

Reddit Grid is picking up a lot of new traffic since the decision by Imgur to stop supporting Reddit’s NSFW community. Image via Reddit Grid.

So, here are some that are being mooted as likely candidates for a replacement service to Imgur plus a couple that Imgur itself has also suggested.

Featured image via Imgur/Pixabay.

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