Discord Blocks All iOS Users From Accessing NSFW Servers

Discord Blocks All iOS Users From Accessing NSFW Servers
Image: Discord / Kotaku

If an iPhone is your main window into Discord’s cacophonous void of yelling gamers, your options just got a lot more limited.

While many Discord servers include user-created NSFW channels, Discord announced it will begin designating entire servers as NSFW. On desktop and in browser, this means you’ll need to be 18 or older to access them. According to Discord’s updated policy, however, iOS users “will be blocked from joining and accessing NSFW servers” whether they’re of age or not.

The presence of NSFW content does not necessarily mean a server is NSFW by Discord’s standards.

“Having NSFW channels does not automatically mean, however, that an entire server should be designated NSFW,” the company wrote. “Servers must be classified as NSFW if the community is organised around NSFW themes or if the majority of the server’s content is 18+. Discord will mark servers meeting these criteria as NSFW if they are not appropriately designated.”

As The Verge points out, the seemingly arbitrary iOS restriction likely serves a purpose: to comply with Apple’s strict rules around potentially objectionable content and age ratings. Back in 2018, Tumblr got yanked from the App Store due to child porn concerns, and it returned only after announcing an across-the-board porn ban. Discord’s new policy also comes during a time when other platforms are moving to create kid- (and advertiser-) safe versions, like Facebook’s under-13 version of Instagram.

Many artists have said on Twitter that the new Discord restrictions hugely inconvenience them, given that some use Apple products for drawing and many use the platform for commissions. Other Discord users have pointed out that this will prevent them from continuing to run servers they personally founded and/or moderate. And, as ever, this stands to impact queer and marginalised communities more than most, given that Discord has allowed them to congregate and share works on an internet that otherwise was not built with them in mind.

“Apple’s regressive stance on sexual content being available on its largest platform is verging on a full-on moral panic, and it’s really gross,” Matthew Bischoff, former product manager at Tumblr and co-founder of software studio Lickability, wrote on Twitter. “Entire businesses and communities have been crushed by it, and it often hurts queer and trans communities most. When we dealt with this at Tumblr, it became my full-time job for weeks to find incredibly complex ways to appease Apple’s censors. This happened every time they found a sexy blog they didn’t like. It’s absurd.”

But ultimately, as long as the systems that currently underpin platforms remain in place, they’re going to cater to more powerful platforms and business interests first — and users long after. Companies like Apple hold all the cards. Everyone else plays by their rules.

Comments

  • Apple is not doing a good job fostering relationships with the largest app providers when the Browser version is superior to the iOS app, either by policy or by profiteering.

  • Hows that walled garden working out?
    Everyone seems to think its the best thing ever that Apple has a complete monopoly on this.

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